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    Rink Remembers

    Photos by Rink

    San Francisco Bay Times photographer Rink has decades of personal experience and knowledge about local LGBT community members as well as revered allies. Since the publication of our prior issue, Rink has captured images honoring such individuals who have passed, and so we share these photos with you here.

    Blackberri (1945–2021)

    Renowned singer/songwriter and community activist Blackberri died on December 13 due to complications following a heart attack. He was a mentor and friend to many in the Bay Area’s LGBT community. In terms of his career, he achieved several historic firsts. For example, his performance in 1975 at the Two Songmakers concert was broadcast on KQED, marking the first time gay-themed music was featured on public television in San Francisco. He is included in the films Tongues Untied (1989) and Thanks to Hank (2019), both now important records of LGBTQ history. Blackberri in 2017 received the Audrey Joseph LGBTQ Entertainment Award and was a Grand Marshal in the SF Pride Parade, among many other honors earned over the years. A virtual Celebration of Life was held on December 21.

    Richard Magary (1940–2021)

    Beloved Castro Merchants Association administrator Richard Magary died on December 20 after a long illness, as announced by his family. Current and past leaders of the Association praised Magary for his organizational skills as he was known for keeping everything on track. He also served as president of the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association (1988–2013) and worked as a volunteer for many other groups. Members of the San Francisco Bay Times team have fond memories of working with Magary, especially on the annual Castro Tree Lighting Ceremony that he shepherded annually.

    Sidney Poitier (1927–2022)

    Pioneering actor, film director, and diplomat Sidney Poitier died at his home in Los Angeles on January 6. He was 94. Poitier’s numerous achievements include becoming the first Black individual and first person of Bahamian descent to win the Academy Award for Best Actor (1964). While many of us know about his memorable, transformative film and stage work, lesser known was that he served as ambassador from the Bahamas to Japan for 10 years (1997–2007). Poitier from 2002 to 2007 concurrently served as the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO. His powerful legacy remains. As former President Obama said, Poitier advanced “the nation’s dialogue on race and respect” and “opened doors for a generation of actors.”

    Betty White (1922–2021)

    White passed on the last day of 2021 as plans were underway for her 100th birthday celebration on January 17 of this year. After decades of television and radio work, she rose to superstardom following memorable roles in the hit TV shows The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls. Outside of her work, she dedicated money and time to causes such as animal welfare advocacy, LGBTQ rights, and other social justice efforts. In 1954, she fought critics who decried her support of Black dancer Arthur Duncan (who turned 88 last September). Fathom Events is moving forward with a celebration of White on January 17:

    Desmond Tutu (1931–2021)

    South African Anglican bishop and theologian Desmond Tutu, known for his tireless work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, died on December 26 of cancer at age 90. He was Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first Black African to hold the position. For his brave activism, which after the fall of apartheid included campaigning for LGBTQ rights, he received several international honors. In 1984, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming only the second South African at the time to receive the award. Upon learning of his death, President Joe Biden said that Tutu’s legacy will “echo throughout the ages.”

    Published on January 13, 2022