One March 24th 2002 history was made.
“This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll,” Halle Berry tearfully said as she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.
“It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
Halle Berry is a living legend. Fact.
We really need to give props to legends while they’re still here. And Miss Berry deserves all the accolades and praise we can throw at her.
This is the woman who introduced us to Dorothy Dandridge. Worked her way from Cleveland, Ohio to the bright lights of Hollywood to become the first black woman to win an Academy Award.
She has done so much for the culture and she is my ultimate hero.
But can you believe that Halle won her Oscar 15 years ago? She still remains the only black woman to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actress.
How can that be?
The 50-year-old reflected on this recently and expressed her disappointment.
The actress was speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity with Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth,
Halle admitted that Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to improving diversity in the industry.
‘It’s troubling, and a few years ago when we had the black Oscars, and there was a complete blackout for us,” the mom-of-two says.
“It was probably one of my lowest professional moments because I sat there, and I remember that speech,’ she said of her 2002 acceptance speech.
‘And I remember how I don’t even know where that speech came from, because I didn’t have a speech, I was pretty sure Sissy Spacek was gonna win.’
‘Two Oscars ago, whenever we had the all blackout, I sat there and I thought: “Wow, that moment really meant nothing.’
‘That meant nothing, I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.”
In 2015 the Academy Awards nominees were overwhelmingly white with not one black nominee in the major categories.
‘I was profoundly hurt by that and saddened by that, and it inspired me to try and get involved in other ways,’ Halle sais
‘Which is why I want to try directing, I want to start producing more, I want to be apart of making more opportunities for people of color.’
‘I have conversation more deeply with the Academy members, and trying to figure out how to help and add more diversity into the Academy, this group which chooses who wins every year.’
‘These types of groups have to start changing and we have to start being more conscious and more inclusive.’
‘I think black people, people of color, only have a chance to win based on how much product that we’re allowed to put out. So that says to me, we need more people of color writing, directing, producing, not just starring.’
‘We have to start telling stories that include us, and if stories don’t include us, we have to start asking, “Why can’t that be a person of color?
‘Why can’t that white male character be a black woman? Why can’t it?” ‘We have to start pushing the envelope and asking these questions.’
Halle won the Academy Award for her role as widow Leticia in the drama Monster’s Ball, which also starred Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Sean Combs, and Peter Boyle.
Over the course of Halle’s incredibly career, the critically acclaimed actress has been honored with an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.