Halle Berry's Words On The Diversity Issue In Hollywood Are Profound & Totally On Point
By now, most of us are likely very aware that the Academy Awards nominees list has bit more of a... white wash this year then one would hope. The lack of diversity amongst the 2016 Oscar nominees is extremely sad, especially considering there were many remarkable performances by African-American writers, directors, and actors in film this year. For some reason, those seem to have gone by unnoticed in favor of actors who are a little more, well, white. This is why the dismal fact that an African-American woman hasn't won an Oscar for best actress since Halle Berry's win at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002 hits even harder.
Luckily, however, Oscar-winner Berry had some very poignant words to say at the 2016 Makers Conference about the lack of diversity amongst this years Academy Award nominees (and last year's nominees, and the year's before that, and uh pretty much every year since the institution of these awards). Berry hit the entire entertainment industry, making the very valid claim that one can't create truly great content without showing the truth: And the reality is that this country is diverse, and full of billions of people with all very different experiences. Not all of those experiences are from white males.
Berry's words at the Makers Conference will hit you right in the feels:
Honestly, that win almost 15 years ago was iconic, it was important to me, but I had the knowing in the moment that it was bigger than me. I believed that in that moment, that when I said ‘The door tonight has been opened,' I believed that with every bone in my body that this was going to incite change because this door, this barrier, had been broken. And to sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking, because I thought that moment was bigger than me. It’s heartbreaking to start to think maybe it wasn’t bigger than me. Maybe it wasn’t. And I so desperately felt like it was.
It's been almost 15 years since she won, guys. The amount of time it's been since there was an African-American best actress winner at the Oscars is a sophomore in high school right now.
It’s really about truth telling. And as filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. And the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful. And the reason they’re not truthful, these days, is that they’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture.
How can Hollywood claim to represent the American experience when they are only representing one small fraction if it?
Men get sexy. We get old. That’s the perception.
Berry, you couldn't be more on point. How many times do you hear someone talking about an older actress and immediately mention that she looks good "for her age?"
If these words doesn't make you want to strap on a camera and share new and fresh stories with the world — or, at the very least, send a very angry letter to the Academy — I don't know what will. Berry is right. There need to be big positive changes for diversity in Hollywood, and the only way to make sure the producers of the content know we mean business.