Academy award winning actress Halle Berry was born to interracial parents, an African American father who was largely absent in her life as he left when she was four and a white mom. According to the actress, black actresses in film and television helped her feel more in touch with her black heritage .
In a clip from the upcoming PBS documentary “American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free” the Oscar-winning star in a no holds barred conversation opened up on the “crucial” impact of seeing women onscreen who resembled her.
“I really struggled to find images of Black women or women that I could identify with,” Berry says.
“Early on, I remember seeing Lena Horne in ‘Stormy Weather’. I remember seeing Dorothy Dandridge in ‘Carmen Jones’. And then a little after that, I remember seeing Diahann Carroll in ‘Julia’ and that just rearranged me, she explains.
“Seeing Diahann Carroll being the star of a show and playing a mother who was a nurse, who was educated, who was beautiful, just rearranged me and it made me realize I had value, that I could turn to every week, a woman that looked like who I would aspire to be when I grew up,” adds Berry.
“It was very, very important,” she continues.
“I was a Black child being raised by a white woman, so I didn’t have those images in my household,” she adds. “Finding them on television and through movies became very, very crucial to me.”
“American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free” premieres Jan. 18.