“I Am So Saddened By The Loss Of My Brother Melvin Van Pebbles Who Brought Independent Black Cinema To The Forefront With HIs Groundbreaking Film Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song(He Personally Signed This Poster To Me),” Oscar winner Lee wrote on Instagram. “Melvin Was A Big Supporter Of My Film Career. He Even Showed Up To The Set Of Do The Right Thing. Damn We Have Lost Another Giant!”
“We’ve lost another lion,” agreed the Tony-nominated Grier, who called Van Peebles “the true revolutionary, an artistic gangsta, cultural disrupter who forever changed the game.”
Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins wrote that the filmmaker “made the most of every second, of EVERY single damn frame.
“Admittedly,” he added, “while the last time I spent any time with him was MANY years ago, it was a night in which he absolutely danced his face off. The man just absolutely LIVED.”
Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay also paid tribute with a favorite quote of Van Peebles’: “You have to not let yourself believe you can’t. Do what you can do within the framework you have. And don’t look outside. Look inside.”
Then, there was Black List founder Franklin Leonard, who cited Van Peebles’ contributions as “Godfather of Black cinema, Godfather of (all) American independent cinema, and so much more.”
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The Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song filmmaker, actor, playwright, novelist and composer, often hailed as the Godfather of Black Cinema, died Tuesday night at his home. He was 89.