Melvin Van Peebles Remembered: Spike Lee, David Alan Grier & Barry Jenkins Among Those Paying Tribute To Cinema’s “True Revolutionary”

Melvin Van Peebles
AP Photo/Michel Spingle

Refresh for updates… Hollywood paid fast and heartfelt tribute to director Melvin Van Peebles today, with news of his death eliciting words of praise for the filmmaker from such industry figures as actor David Alan Grier and directors Barry Jenkins, Ava DuVernay, and Spike Lee, along with notable musicians and music execs.

“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.”

“We lost a true legend today in so many senses of the word,” said DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter. “Melvin Van Peebles was a cinematic icon whose bold and unapologetic work exploded on the scene, capturing the attention of our culture, inspiring the hearts and minds of so many, and influencing the work of countless filmmakers. Melvin was a constant presence at the Guild, always supporting and nurturing his fellow filmmakers. He also served on the Eastern Directors Council, and was proudly honored by the African American Steering Committee for his numerous contributions. Melvin’s mark on cinema will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

See all reactions and full statements below.

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.

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“We lost a true legend today in so many senses of the word. Melvin Van Peebles was a cinematic icon whose bold and unapologetic work exploded on the scene, capturing the attention of our culture, inspiring the hearts and minds of so many, and influencing the work of countless filmmakers. Melvin was a constant presence at the Guild, always supporting and nurturing his fellow filmmakers. He also served on the Eastern Directors Council, and was proudly honored by the African American Steering Committee for his numerous contributions. Melvin’s mark on cinema will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
— Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter

 

“Melvin Van Peebles, an inspiration to a generation of filmmakers, passed. I had the honor of acting with Melvin in Jerry LaMothe’s movie “Blackout”. ln Melvin’s son Mario’s movie “Baadasssss!” about his dad as filmmaker, I got to see how the father had inspired the son. I had the great good fortune of benefiting from Melvin’s kindness, humor, and vast reserves of talent. There will never be another like him.”
— Saul Rubinek

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2021/09/melvin-van-peebles-remembered-by-spike-lee-david-alan-grier-barry-jenkins-ava-duvernay-more-1234842533/