Halle Berry: An icon and boundary pusher


Beautiful and on the cover of a magazine

 

I won’t be shy in saying I’m a huge fan of Halle Berry. Right back when she was dating Eric (the cheater) Benet and raised his daughter as her own, I thought she carried herself gracefully and elegantly but with both feet planted firmly on terra firma. When she wept real tears after collecting her Oscar in 2001 for Monster’s Ball, I don’t think I’m the only woman of colour who cried a tear or two with her. They were tears of joy, of course, but also tears of triumph, knowing she was rejected for some roles, typecast and generally misrepresented on too many occasions on her way to the top.       

Halle is on the front cover of the September issue of US Vogue. The last time a black woman appeared on the cover of US Vogue was in 1989. There’s no need to embellish that statement. Fill in the gaps yourself.       

Actors do need to overcome a certain amount of knock-backs, but even a work-a-day non actor like myself encounters knock-backs just getting through an ordinary day. There’s the slightly weird sense that people see you and think they know you, but what they are seeing is a mirage of images that have been assimilated from a variety of sources. Vamp. Hooker. Single mother. Drug addict. Victim. Survivor. Stereotypes or truths? A mix of all perhaps. Or pure fantasy? Halle made it her business to be an individual. You may think you know me, but my name is Halle.  Dual heritage; realer than real.

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