Halle Berry captured hearts with her 2022 Critics Choice Awards speech.
Halle Berry, the veteran actress and model made her directorial debut with the 2021 sports drama, Bruised. It received the SeeHer Award at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards. The film follows a disgraced MMA fighter who has to conquer her own demons when 6-year-old Manny, the son she walked out on years ago, returns to her doorstep.
The SeeHer award honours women who push boundaries and confront stereotypes in their work. Moreover, the award celebrates and promotes authentic portrayals of women in media.
Berry began her speech by thanking Issa Rae, who presented her with the award. She particularly recognized Rae’s impact on women of colour in the entertainment industry.
She then went on to recount her journey of directing and starring in Bruised. “Why not me?” she asked the producers when she realized the script had not been written for her. “Why can’t it be a Black woman?”
The Power of Storytelling
With her film, Berry redefined the idea of an authentic feminine story. When she asked a male acquaintance about the film, he said he felt uncomfortable watching the amount of violence and pain inflicted upon a woman. But it was this [feeling of] discomfort that Berry strived to create with her film. She wanted people to consider the harsh reality that women face, and be conscious of it in their daily lives. Furthermore, she hopes that learning about different stories can help people find compassion and empathy for each other.
“This is the power of storytelling,” she said. “It can raise consciousness and help us think outside of [our individual circumstances].”
Why Representation Matters
Berry couldn’t see herself starring in films that focused on traditional film heroes, for example, white men. This is because their stories were not written to reflect or represent [her] narrative as a woman of colour. She recognizes the power of an authentic, multi-dimensional portrayal of women in media. She then extended a tribute to the women who stand up and tell their own stories.
In particular, she hopes for media to showcase women in all [their] multitudes and contradictions. For instance: Women are confident and scared; vulnerable and strong; beautiful and abused, all at the same time.
She closes out her speech by stating that women might not always be pretty, but [they] will always be true, no matter how uncomfortable that makes [other people].
To close out her Critics Choice Awards speech, Halle Berry dedicates the award “To every little girl who feels unseen and unheard. This is our way of saying we love you and we see you.”
Published by HOLR Magazine.