An Actress with Negroid Blood: Halle Berry and Her Rise in Hollywood

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Halle berry is an Afro American origin actress from Hollywood. She is presently one of the highest paid stars from Hollywood who commands a niche of her own on the screen and world cinema.The high point of her success was the academy award for the best ac

Halle berry is an Afro American origin actress from Hollywood. She is presently one of the highest paid stars from Hollywood who commands a niche of her own on the screen and world cinema. All this appears commonplace now, but behind this scenario is the deprivation and discrimination of over 200 years of history against the Afro American in America.

 Tarantulas Film ‘The Return of Django’ succinctly brings out the discrimination against the Negro. This was not confined to the Deep South, but also enveloped Hollywood, the centre of world entertainment in the form of the cinema. Throughout the history of Hollywood, Afro-American actresses never got the opportunities available to the white actresses. Thus for decades the only roles available to women of African origin were roles as nanny’s and workers on plantations.

The deep bias against the Negoid women continued till the sixties when things began to change. Perhaps it had something to do with the peaceful agitation by Martin Luther King and his subsequent murder. America now wanted to exorcise the ghost of its past discrimination against the Afro American woman.

Halle was born in this period in 1966 in Cleveland of a German mother working as a nurse and a Black hospital attendant. The marriage did not last and the father just drifted away as Halle and her sister were brought up by their mother.

Halle received a lot of encouragement from her mother and that helped as she entered the world of show business and beauty contests. Thing had changed in America and the ghosts of the KKK effectively buried when Halle finished 1st runner up in the Miss USA Pageant in 1986. She followed   up her success and competed in the Miss World Pageant and finished 6th.

 There was no looking back for Halle after that as she broke into Hollywood. Before that she shifted to New York to pursue her acting ambitions with the ABC television series Living Dolls and the hit series Who’s the Boss. This was in 1989 and soon after made her film debut in Jungle fever in 1991.

Halle brought freshness to her roles and the public fed on a diet of fair skinned actresses was ready to accept an Afro American as their idol. She starred in a string of roles as the Bond girl (Die another Day) and cat woman. The high point of her success was the academy award for the best actress for her role in Monsters ball in 2002. In a century of cinema, this was the first time an Afro American had won this coveted award.  In her acceptance speech Halle highlighted this and dedicated it to the tens of black actresses who never got a chance to win this award in the last century of cinema.

 Halle is now one of the highest paid stars of Hollywood and her name commands marquee value.  She has aloes turned in stupendous performances in some great hits like Behind Blue eyes, Gothika, and Cat woman among others. She like other stars has not been without controversy as she gave a 30 second shot of her breasts in swordfish. Her health could have been better as she suffers from type2 diabetes.

 Her personal life revolves around 2 spouses and 2 live in partners. She has one child and as per reports is expecting another from her latest partner Oliver Martinez. Halle berry is the first Afro American actress who has made a success in Hollywood; hopefully this will be the beginning of more girls like her to break into what was earlier an exclusive white preserve.


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Madan G Singh

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