Celebs we lost in 2021

A huge number of famous faces have passed away this year

Melvin Van Peebles (died September 22nd, aged 89)

Celebs we lost in 2021 14
Credit: Georges Biard / Wikimedia Commons

Melvin Van Peebles, best known for directing the 1970s films Watermelon Man and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, died on September 22nd at his home in Manhattan, New York, at the age of 89.

Dubbed as the godfather of modern Black cinema, Van Peebles was considered by many as an influential link to a younger generation of African American filmmakers that includes Spike Lee and John Singleton. Aside from being a filmmaker, the Chicago native also was a novelist, theater impresario, songwriter, musician, and painter.

In a statement confirming his father’s passing, filmmaker Mario Van Peebles said: “Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer’s mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and interconnectivity of all people.”