“Being biracial is sort of like being in a secret society,” she says. “Most people I know of that [are] mix[ed] have a real ability to be in a room with anyone, black or white.”
Believe it or not, Halle Berry is 46 years old. In this article by Joyce Maynard for the New York Times Style Magazine, Halle discusses her age, her career, and in terms of 50 SHADES OF BLACK she reflects on how her race and skin tone have shaped her understanding of herself. Below are excerpts from that article. Read the COMPLETE ARTICLE for much more.
Berry grew up in Cleveland as the child of a white mother (a psychiatric nurse) and a black, alcoholic father — a hospital orderly — who abused her mother and older sister (not Berry herself, she says), and who left when she was 4. He returned six years later for what she describes as “the worst year of my life.” But it was her mother, Judith, who raised her.
After her mother showed up for the first time at her all-black elementary school, Berry was shunned. “Kids said I was adopted,” she says. “Overnight, I didn’t fit in anymore.” When the family moved to the suburbs in search of a better education for Berry and her sister, she was suddenly the lone black child in a nearly all-white school. People left Oreo cookies in her locker. When she was elected prom queen, the school principal accused her of stuffing the ballot box and suggested she and the white runner-up flip a coin to see who got to be queen. Berry won the toss.
“I always had to prove myself through my actions,” she says. “Be a cheerleader. Be class president. Be the editor of the newspaper. It gave me a way to show who I was without being angry or violent. By the time I left school, I had a lot of tenacity. I’d turned things around.”
Read the COMPLETE ARTICLE for much more.