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.”
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.
Deadline will share more reactions as they come in…
We’ve lost another lion, the true revolutionary, an artistic gangsta, cultural disrupter who forever changed the game Rest n Peace Melvin Van Peebles ✊🏾🙏🏾✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/OH9D6Slnbx
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) September 22, 2021
He made the most of every second, of EVERY single damn frame and admittedly, 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 pic.twitter.com/IIpfU8wI7q
— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) September 22, 2021
“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.”
― the iconic artist, filmmaker, actor, playwright, novelist, composer and sage Melvin Van Peebles, who has gone home at the age of 89. pic.twitter.com/36BQKzN9G7
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 22, 2021
Rest in Peace, Melvin Van Peebles.
Godfather of Black cinema, Godfather of (all) American independent cinema, and so much more. https://t.co/VYmLcinVbk
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) September 22, 2021
A godfather of both black and independent cinema – Melvin Van Peebles played by his own rules and made movie history. Here are a couple shots from 2018’s TCM Fest with his son Mario introducing a crowd to the still revolutionary “Sweet Sweetback” https://t.co/0NLNwGCNTq pic.twitter.com/AMsQ7TCezW
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) September 22, 2021
— Yolonda Ross (@YolondaRoss) September 22, 2021
RIP Melvin Van Peebles, one of my favorite filmmakers, whose support changed my life when we met at a film festival 15 years ago. I will never forget him. Also no one could rock a vest / no shirt look like him.
— jonathan levine (@jonathanalevine) September 22, 2021
Thank You KING 👑
It’s not only what you did but the times and circumstances you did them in.
A Filmmaker who was the essence and embodiment of indy film in “struggle times”.
The beauty is you lived to see the fruits of your labor birth and feed many🕊 pic.twitter.com/pcvPvR29CX
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) September 22, 2021
Melvin Van Peebles, Godfather of Black Cinema, Dies at 89.
— Sherri Shepherd (@sherrieshepherd) September 22, 2021
RIP the magnificent Melvin Van Peebles – a true Renaissance man across film, theater, music and literature, and one of the biggest life forces you could ever hope to encounter. It was an honor and pleasure to have him as a guest many times at @FilmLinc, followed by equally many a
— Scott Foundas (@foundasonfilm) September 22, 2021
Man, RIP to Melvin Van Peebles, legend and revolutionary.
— Peter Ramsey (@pramsey342) September 22, 2021
Melvin Van Peebles was a king
— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) September 22, 2021
📷 Melvin Van Peebles passed today. He was 89z a personal hero of mine, he invented independent black cinema and is often credit with the invention of Blaxploitation. I credit him with being a genius. I sampled his records, I loved Sweet… https://t.co/CMYlyYJqOQ
— Dante Ross (@DanteRoss) September 22, 2021
— Trevor Jackson (@trevorjackson5) September 22, 2021
RATED X BY AN ALL WHITE JURY remains one the greatest taglines of all time, as well as perhaps the greatest act of rebellion against the MPAA we’ve ever seen. A true renegade. RIP Melvin Van Peebles.
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) September 22, 2021
RIP Melvin Van Peebles. Very influential filmmaker, one of the first independent filmmakers, inspired all of us. https://t.co/AYdZNG5lOW
— ABL (@AdamBhalaLough) September 22, 2021
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) September 22, 2021
We mourn the loss of the unparalleled Melvin Van Peebles. As the godfather of Black Cinema, he was a storyteller, artist, actor, filmmaker, #Sundance alum, & true visionary. With films like SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSSS SONG he leaves behind a body of work that will stay with us. pic.twitter.com/z3BJpruEZa
— SundanceFilmFestival (@sundancefest) September 22, 2021
RIP Melvin Van Peebles, a true Renaissance man and trailblazing independent filmmaker.
Fifty years ago, Van Peebles made SWEET SWEETBACK’S BADASSSSS SONG, an essential early blaxplotation film – the film was added to the National Film Registry last year.
Thank you, Melvin. pic.twitter.com/HB1i91ultL
— The Black List (@theblcklst) September 22, 2021
It is with a heavy heart that we share that our close friend and pioneering African-American auteur, Melvin Van Peebles, passed away last night. Our thoughts go out to his friends and loved ones. @THR remembers him here: https://t.co/Ztde3TW8z3 pic.twitter.com/mUKurOllpM
— TCM (@tcm) September 22, 2021
To the ultimate baadasssss.
Thank you Melvin Van Peebles for changing the course of cinema.
Photography by Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer pic.twitter.com/cPxJa4EZgE
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) September 22, 2021
R.I.P. Melvin Van Peebles 💜 pic.twitter.com/9SNEItw0zA
— Film at Lincoln Center (@FilmLinc) September 22, 2021
RIP Melvin Van Peebles pic.twitter.com/oZ2gXId55e
— Sony Classics (@sonyclassics) September 22, 2021
Melvin Van Peebles, the filmmaking maverick of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and more, has passed at age 89. R.I.P. to an icon. pic.twitter.com/DnCJw6P7di
— Fandango (@Fandango) September 22, 2021
The “Godfather of Black Cinema’ Melvin Van Peebles, best known for his film ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song’ has passed away at 89. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/BwD2APMboA
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) September 22, 2021