The “Bruised” actor shared an Instagram post dedicated to Poitier hours after the Bahamas’ minister of foreign affairs reported his death on Friday. “An enormous part of my soul weeps at your passing,” she wrote.
Berry’s career is intrinsically connected to Poitier’s in the way they both made Oscars history.
Poitier became the first Black man to win the Oscar for best actor in 1964, among many “firsts” and groundbreaking accomplishments throughout his career. He won the award for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”
Berry made history when she became the first Black woman to win the Oscar for best actress for “Monster’s Ball” in 2002. She is still the only Black woman to have won the best actress award to date.
In 2016, Berry said at a conference that it was “heartbreaking” knowing that “another woman of color has not walked through that door.”
Berry praised Poitier’s legacy in her Instagram post on Friday, writing, “In your ninety-four years on this planet, you left an indelible mark with your extraordinary talent, paving the way for Black people to be seen and heard in the fullness of who we are.”
“You were an iconic trailblazer; yours was a life well lived,” she wrote. “I grew up idolizing you and will always remember the day when I first met you. It is the only time in my life when I’ve been rendered speechless!”
“There I sat, with my words glued together, and you were as gracious and charming then as you would be during our decades of friendship to follow,” she continued, adding: “Rest in peace, beloved Sidney. You are and always will be the true measure of a man.”
Tributes to Poitier began pouring in on Friday, including a heartfelt message from Denzel Washington, who became the second Black man to win the best actor Oscar in 2002.
“It was a privilege to call Sidney Poitier my friend,” Washington said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “He was a gentle man and opened doors for all of us that had been closed for years. God bless him and his family.”