Hollywood’s Halle Berry stirs up different reactions: Point Counterpoint

By defaultuser
April 4, 2002


Hollywood makes me sick. Every year, for 74 years, the “elite” actors and actresses, producers and directors (“stars”) of Hollywood get together to pat themselves on the back. In reality, these groups of insecure, overpaid nimrods need such an occasion to reassure themselves that what they are doing is actually worthwhile.

Now, if you are the theater type, relax. I understand the necessity of the arts. In fact, I support the arts. I do not however, support people making millions upon millions of dollars to get in front of a camera and whore themselves out to the world. Meanwhile, doctors, who actually benefit society, are making far less; but I digress.

Please forgive me if I did not shed a tear for Halle Berry and her award. There is nothing moving about a woman, half-naked and babbling, thinking that she has just shattered the world. To be perfectly frank, I was disgusted by her acceptance speech. Berry, who suddenly cannot seem to keep her top on, thinks that she is in the same league as Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll. Berry noted during her speech, “this moment is bigger than me.” She also said that her winning was for, “every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because the door tonight has been opened.”

Please do not misconstrue what I am about to say as being racially insensitive, because I do not mean it to be. However. WHO EVER WON AN AWARD FOR ME? Apparently, my olive-skin complexion is not colorful enough to be mentioned in Berry’s acceptance speech. Suddenly I am not colorful enough – I suppose I am blank. If Robert DeNiro stood up and proclaimed, “This award is for all the plain-looking ‘white’ people,” he would be called a racist.

The bottom line is this: please do not bash me over my head with your politics, creed, gender or race. Halle Berry will probably say things like, “I do not want to be known as a ‘black actress,'” yet, when she “finally” wins an award, the first thing she does is mention how she is “of color.” I did not even know that she was the first African-American woman of color (insert any other politically correct term) to win in that category.

Instead of getting our priorities straight in a post-9/11 nation, we are allowing petty, topical differences to protrude through the cracks. It is time that our society addresses issues of race instead of flaunting them, and in Halle Berry’s case, exploiting them for her own good. Berry has gotten more publicity for this “historic” award than she got for her hit-and-run accident, in which she left the scene of an accident she committed and injured an innocent person. I am sure her price to star in movies will skyrocket. Her house will get bigger; she will probably buy a bigger car that she can use to run people down in.

As I see it, the only reason Halle Berry won was because of her color. She is taking away from any talent that she may have shown in “Monster’s Ball.” I think that the Academy is feeling pressure to diversify its inductees. Now, instead of judging actors, actresses, directors, producers, etc. by their skills and merit, we are awarding them based on their race.

Whoopi Goldberg hosted and was good, in fact, surprisingly funny. Denzel Washington won for “Training Day,” and deservedly so. However, when Sidney Poitier was given a “lifetime achievement award,” the only people used to acknowledge his career were African American actors. Is that to say that Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe were not inspired by Poitier? Is Julia Roberts, last year’s recipient of best actress, not as good as Berry because she is ‘white’?

Please, someone explain this to me. Feel free to come up to me and let me know, I am not hard to find – I am the ‘white’ guy on campus.


I watched the 74th annual Academy Awards anticipating the best actor and actress categories. However I woke up 4:30 a.m., realizing that I had missed it. I jumped up, turned on my computer and logged onto AOL to see their homepage with the headline “Berry and Washington make history.” In an excited frenzy, I bounced around my room basking in the moment.

Why was I so personally excited? I don’t know either Halle Berry or Denzel Washington and truthfully, I didn’t see “Monster’s Ball” or “Training Day.” However, I knew that this was a historical moment for two extremely talented African-American performers.

My counterpart’s statement about Berry not being able to keep her top on is one of the main facts that disturbs me most about her receiving this award. It disgraces me as a black female that it took Berry revealing her body to be recognized by the Academy. This is an actress that has had outstanding performances in many films for many years and has been overlooked for all of those performances, as with Washington.

If Berry did win, solely on the basis of her color then so be it. It will probably be another 74 years before another black actress or actor receives an award from the Academy. This “token” is what is necessary to inspire young actresses of color and prevent them from being discouraged from pursuing a career in the industry.

I am disappointed in my counterpoint for not even being aware that a woman of color has never won in this category. If this topic was so-called “pressure” on the Academy to diversify its inductees, then maybe the Academy should take a step back and look at the majority of their inductees. This country becomes more and more diversified as each day passes. Why isn’t this diversification reflected in Hollywood?

As for Robert DeNiro not accepting any awards on behalf of the “plain looking ‘white’ people,” that sounds like a personal problem. Berry’s statement wasn’t about excluding other races, but was recognizing the many black actresses before her and amongst her who have gone through the same struggle. She could have very well gotten on that stage and thanked herself and not have bothered to acknowledge anyone else, but she didn’t.

Maybe I come from this viewpoint because I am a black female who understands what it is like to work hard and be overlooked on the basis of race. I try to view all subject matter involving race from both sides of the argument, but Ilack an understanding of the other side of this one. I just cannot grasp how anyone could feel as though Berry is exploiting her race to benefit herself. This is a bi-racial woman whose white mother raised her to be proud of her black heritage.

I also feel that using black actors and actresses to comment on the “lifetime achievement award” received by Sidney Poitier had a greater impact than if it had also included white performers. It not only showed the many established black performers in the industry (mostly whom you have never seen among the annual list of nominees) but shows how this one man opened up the industry for many black performers to obtain non-stereotypical roles. If it were not for this man, the portrayal of African-Americans in film today may not be what it is.

Berry’s award win was an event that affected the entire film industry. I am shocked that the main people whom I have heard making it a race issue have been white people. I have gotten two impressions from such statements. Either society has a long way to progress in the ways of racial acceptance or that the ‘white’ industry fears that the black performers are going to start taking “their” awards.

If someone would like to explain this one to me, you may feel free also. I won’t be difficult to find either – I am the black girl hanging with Vince DeFruscio.

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