Monday, 30 May 2011

Is President Obama a Sellout

Questions swirling in the recent dust-up among some of America’s most prominent black intellectuals and talking heads.

African-American names in the news have been exchanging harsh words over the state of black America in the Obama era. President Barack Obama is the piñata at the center of the controversy, but it’s not really about him.

It’s about a clash of massive egos and a longstanding worry that as America lurches toward a post-racial age, the racial grandstanders and panderers will tumble into the tar pits of irrelevance. The race careerists are becoming an endangered species.

One specimen is a classic. Dr.-Professor-Rapper-Signifier Cornel West should be propped up in a glass exhibit case at the Smithsonian. The famous Princeton University scholar is bitterly teed off at the president. West charges that Obama has neglected the unemployed, the poor, those in prison, and — worst of all — the president is not taking his calls.

In a recent interview with progressive web site Truthdig, West railed that Obama is “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.

These epithets point to a deep-seated animosity towards 'race betrayers' who the host community regards as a traitor and an ungrateful free rider. In studying the fear of the sellout among black Americans, Randall Kennedy notes in his book Sellout that a sellout is "a person who betrays something to which she is said to owe allegiance" and can refer to individuals whose actions "retard African-American advancement."

As Kennedy notes, some of the earliest members of the black community labeled as sellouts were those individuals who recaptured runaway slaves or forewarned white authorities of impending slave revolts. Many black authors who wrote treatises against the community were also roundly hated. One example is William Hannibal Thomas, who throughout his early life championed the African-American cause. Later in life, however, he underwent a radical about-face and published The American Negro in 1901. The black individual, he wrote, "has a mind that never thinks in complex terms; Negro intelligence is both superficial and delusive... [and] represents an illiterate race, in which ignorance, cowardice, folly, and idleness are rife." The African-American response was swift and seething. Some threatened him with physical assault and told him to "go off and hang thyself," while others, like Booker T. Washington, remarked that, "It is sad to think of a man without a country. It is sadder to think of a man without a race."

Both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke with derision against racial betrayal. Malcolm X called sellouts "house Negros" and King stated that there are many blacks in America "who will seek profit for themselves alone from the struggle." Others branded as sellouts were those individuals who, working as spies for the American government, infiltrated civil rights organizations and kept an eye on groups like the Black Panther Party.

It seems that almost without exception, every successful African-American public figure in the United States -- Oprah, Sean 'Puffy' Combs, Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell -- has, at one time or another, faced the question of whether they were selling out. As journalist Peter Beinart pointed out, it seems that "the more whites love you, the more you must reassure your own community that you are still one of them."

In a recent interview with journalist and author Chris Hedges, Princeton professor Cornel West launches a full frontal assault on President Obama. Parts of the interview provide a sound critique of Obama's failures as a populist president. Other parts are deeply unfair, and at times disturbing. West stops just short of branding Obama a "race traitor" or accusing him of selling out African-Americans. While I admire Dr. West, read some of his writings, and briefly met him at the 2009 American Academy of Religion conference in Montreal, I found his comments on Obama problematic to the say the least.

Some of West's critiques arise out of a perceived personal affront by Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. For example, he tells Hedges that he did 65 campaign events for Obama, used to speak with him regularly on the phone, and offer prayers for his success. However, West "never got a call back" from Obama. Additionally, West could not get tickets to the inauguration with his mother and brother. "We had to watch the thing in the hotel," he says.

The relationship continued to deteriorate after Obama became President. West, who had always stated that Obama should not think he is safe from critique simply because he is African-American, received a phone call from Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president. According to West, Jarrett was particularly upset by West's statement in an interview that "he saw a lot of Malcolm X and Ella Baker" in Michelle Obama. "I said in the world that I live in, in that which authorizes my reality, Ella Baker is a towering figure," he tells Hedges. "If I say there is a lot of Ella Baker in Michelle Obama, that's a compliment." He goes on to say that while the first lady's initiatives on child obesity and military families are commendable, "why doesn't she visit a prison? Why not spend some time in the hood?"

African American Heritage Parade Brings 'Unity' During Time of Violence

Fear of the sellout is rampant among many ethnic and racial groups in the United States and Canada. When members of these communities enter positions of privilege, they indeed become objects of pride and admiration, but these feelings are often accompanied by a nervous uncertainty as to whether they will eventually "forget where they came from." The sellout has been branded with several epithets in the majority-white North American context. Most of the derogatory terms have referred to being or "acting white," which has been one of the constant characteristics of the sellout. Black sellouts have been called "Uncle Toms" or "Oreos," while South Asians have been called "coconuts" and Asians have been labeled "twinkies" or "bananas."

These epithets point to a deep-seated animosity towards 'race betrayers' who the host community regards as a traitor and an ungrateful free rider. In studying the fear of the sellout among black Americans, Randall Kennedy notes in his book Sellout that a sellout is "a person who betrays something to which she is said to owe allegiance" and can refer to individuals whose actions "retard African-American advancement.

The three-hour event included marching bands, floats and cultural dances. Newark Business Administrator Julien Neals called the event "an important fabric of Newark." He said the parade has become "a long-standing symbol of unity and a positive message."

Ralph Grant, vice president of Somerset Christian College's Newark Center, who also works with the parade's committee, said the event helps people recognize modern-day contributions by African Americans. "When you pull up to a traffic light, you should know that was an African American who invented that traffic light," he said. "When you push a baby carriage, you should know that was an African American who invented the baby carriage."

The event follows four days of violence in the city that included the death of an off-duty Newark police officer Thursday night.

Neals said that while the city deals with crime, it's events such as the parade that help bring "unity."

"The best thing we can do is respond to it and try to get the city back on track and keep the citizens' faiths up that there will be good things going on in the city as well.

Racism still contaminating science:Why?

Earlier this month, the popular magazine Psychology Today published an article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" that was met, as one would expect, with a great deal of outrage. The article used data based on another study to make several claims such as "black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women" yet "subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others."
Most attractive black women forever

After some attempted editing of the title, the magazine retracted the post from its website entirely. Kanazawa in turn is facing an investigation by the London School of Economics, where he is a professor, after a unanimous vote for his dismissal by the student union. It’s amazing in 2011 that a respected magazine would publish an article so clearing based in racial bias. And they can’t claim they didn’t know because they wrote the title themselves.
Halle Berry

When a Psychology Today magazine blog appeared under the headline "Why Are African American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?", some dismissed it as an isolated incident of racism and misogyny creeping into science.

Here in Philadelphia in the early 1800s, one of the world's leading anthropologists, Samuel Morton, was measuring human skulls and using his results to justify the continued enslavement of Africans. "Physical anthropology played a very large role in ways by which race and the institution of slavery was seen - and was either supported or argued against," said Princeton anthropologist Alan Mann.
Beyoncé Knowles

Mann has lectured on this, encouraging his colleagues to be mindful of their field's past. But racism, he said, has infected other fields including biology and psychology.

The post about black women appeared May 15, authored by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist from the London School of Economics.

Kanazawa based his claim not on a published study but on his own analysis of a large survey by the Add Health group at the University of North Carolina. The vast survey started with seventh to 12th graders and followed them into adulthood, evaluating health along with social, economic, and psychological factors. For reasons that are unclear, the interviewers rated the subjects on attractiveness on a scale from 1 (very unattractive) to 5 (very attractive).
Tyra Banks

From this, Kanazawa concluded that black women are "objectively" less attractive than women of other races - despite the obviously subjective nature of the evaluation.

He also failed to mention that many of the evaluations were made while the subjects were teens, some as young as 12. The same subjects were evaluated at four intervals, and only in the last two of those were they all adults.
Mariah Carey

incident shows some parallels to the case of Philly's skull-measuring anthropologist Morton. (His skull collection is still housed in the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.) Morton thought he had evidence that, on average, Africans had smaller heads and were therefore less intelligent.
Thandie Newton

The abolition movement was growing then, and Morton was embraced by those who favored slavery, said Mann. Morton was also working under the theory that God created human races separately, making them essentially different species. Darwin's evolution theory was still years away.
Vanessa L. Williams

At the time, it was a common assumption that head size correlated with intelligence. It does, roughly, across different animal species, though it's the size of the brain relative to the whole animal that's important rather than the sheer size.

In the human race, the biggest heads belong to the biggest people, said Mann, but not necessarily the brightest.

Even if Morton's assumption were correct and having a small head somehow disqualified a person from freedom, then Americans should have stopped kidnapping Africans and started measuring heads and enslaving those with the smallest. But that clearly wasn't his agenda.
Iman (model)

In the 1980s, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould attempted to debunk Morton in his book The Mismeasure of Man. Gould went so far as to claim that Morton fudged his data, but others, including Mann, have reexamined the evidence and say Morton was wrong not because he cheated but because he used skewed data and made bad assumptions.
Angela Bassett

A disproportionate number of his African skulls came from a relatively diminutive group, Mann said, and Morton might not have been aware of this.

On the other hand, both say he's one of the most popular bloggers at Psychology Today. "If you weren't familiar with the scholarly literature, and only looked at the popularity of the blog, you might think he was a lot more prominent in the field than he is," said Kurzban, who, like Kaufman, writes a much less popular blog on the same site.
Alicia Keys

Kanazawa's previous posts include such headlines as "Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?" Psychology Today might have seen this as a red flag some time ago, but they continue to let him blog under their name. They eventually removed the post about black women with no explanation. They issued an apology on their website late last week, but Kanazawa's blog, "The Scientific Fundamentalist," remained on their site.

In response to questions, the magazine's editors sent The Inquirer a link to an NPR blog post, which contained the following quote from editor in chief Kaja Perina: "Our bloggers are credentialed social scientists" who choose their own topics, Perina wrote. "We in turn reserve the right to remove posts for any number of reasons. Because the post was not commissioned or solicited by PT (in contrast to a magazine article), there was no editorial intent to address questions of race and physical attractiveness."
Naomi Campbell

The controversy has fueled new criticism toward evolutionary psychology, a field that already has some vocal detractors. "Among the many reasons that I detest evolutionary psychology, one has a name: Satoshi Kanazawa," wrote biologist and blogger P.Z. Myers.

Other evolutionary psychologists say they're trying to expand the frontiers of human knowledge, and they can't avoid certain questions just because the answers might be hurtful.

But in an era when scientists are deciphering the fundamental constituents of matter, decoding the genome, and discovering planets sprinkled through the galaxy, anyone might wonder whether determining which race has hotter women is a reasonable endeavor for a grown man, let alone someone Psychology Today deems a credentialed scientist.

Naomi Campbell in race row over Cadbury chocolate

Naomi Campbell is considering taking legal action against Cadbury after claiming a ‘racist’ advertisement compares her to a chocolate bar.
The supermodel said she was shocked and hurt to see her name on billboards and in newspapers next to the Dairy Milk Bliss bar.
Black civil rights groups have urged shoppers to boycott products of Cadbury’s U.S. parent company, Kraft Foods.
And Miss Campbell, who is known for being litigious, said she is currently considering taking ‘every available option’ over the adverts that appeared in a national newspaper last week and in supermarkets, reading, ‘Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town’.
She said: ‘I am shocked. It’s upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me but for all black women and black people.I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful.’
Her mother, Valerie Morris, supported her daughter’s stance, saying: ‘I’m deeply upset by this racist advert.
Disgust at the ad prompted members of the public to complain to the campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV), which has called for Cadbury to apologise. OBV's Simon Woolley said that without an apology, the "only recourse black people have is not to buy its chocolate". He has written to the American civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ask them to mobilise the country's Afro-American population. "I want them to know what their parent company is doing in Europe. I've asked them to support us."

Mr Woolley said that, for black people, being likened to chocolate was as bad as being called a golliwog. "Racism in the playground starts with black children being called 'chocolate bar'. At best, this is insensitive, and at worst it demonstrates Cadbury's utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury. The Eurocentric joke is not funny to black people.

"It's particularly galling because we've just had a week that saw the establishment fall over themselves to be close to the Obamas and yet black people are being derided in such an insulting and negative way," Mr Woolley added.

The black activist Lee Jasper said: "This issue is not just about the insult to Naomi Campbell. It's about how these companies treat black people in general. Part of the problem is that they don't see it as offensive."

The racism row comes just one week after a London School of Economics lecturer, Satoshi Kanazawa, hit the headlines for "research" claiming to show that black women are less attractive than those of other races.

A spokesperson for Cadbury insisted that the campaign was "a light-hearted take on the social pretensions of Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss". He added later, however, that the campaign was "no longer in circulation... we have no plans to repeat the campaign.

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell (born 22 May 1970) is a British model. Scouted at the age of 15, she established herself among the top three most recognisable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and she was one of six models of her generation declared "supermodels" by the fashion world. As the most famous black model of her time, Campbell has been outspoken throughout her career against the racial bias that exists in the fashion industry.Her personal life is widely reported, particularly her affairs with famous men—including boxer Mike Tyson and actor Robert De Niro—and several high-profile assault convictions.

Personal life
Campbell, who has never met her biological father, regards record producers Quincy Jones and Chris Blackwell as adopted father figures. Former South African president Nelson Mandela has referred to Campbell as his "honorary granddaughter".She first met Mandela in November 1994, after his party, the African National Congress, invited her to travel to South Africa to meet with their leader. She had previously donated the proceeds from a photo shoot in Tanzania to the ANC. Over the years, Campbell has lent support to many of Mandela's political campaigns and humanitarian causes.
Campbell has never married. In the late 1980s, she dated boxer Mike Tyson, who said of her, "She has a great body. And she's scared of nothing." In the early 1990s, she had an on-again-off-again relationship with actor Robert De Niro. In 1993, she became engaged to U2 bassist Adam Clayton. They met in February of that year, after Clayton, asked in an interview if there was anything in the world he desired but didn't have, responded: "A date with Naomi Campbell". Campbell and Clayton separated the following year. She then dated dancer Joaquín Cortés in the mid to late 1990s. In 1998, she became engaged to Formula One racing head Flavio Briatore; they were involved in an on-again-off-again relationship until their separation in 2003. Campbell now considers Briatore her "mentor". She dated businessman Badr Jafar in the mid 2000s. Since 2008, Campbell has been in a relationship with businessman Vladimir Doronin.
In 1999, Campbell entered rehab after a five-year addiction to cocaine. Of her choice, in 1994, to first use the drug, Campbell said in 2005, "I was having fun. I was living this life of travelling the world and having people just give you anything. [But] the little glow in your face goes....It's a very nasty drug. In 2002, Campbell successfully claimed a breach of privacy against the Daily Mirror, after the newspaper published a report of her drug addiction, including a photograph of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. The High Court ordered £3,500 in damages from the Daily Mirror, but later that year the ruling was overturned by the Appeal Court, which ordered Campbell to pay the newspaper's £350,000 legal costs. In 2004, however, the Law Lords reinstated the High Court ruling and damages.

Early life
Campbell was born in the working-class Streatham district of South London, the daughter of Jamaican-born dancer Valerie Morris. In accordance with her mother's wishes, Campbell has never met her father, who abandoned her mother when she was four months pregnant, and who went unnamed on her birth certificate. She took on the surname Campbell from her mother's second marriage. Her half-brother, Pierre, was born in 1986. Campbell is of Afro-Jamaican descent, as well as of Chinese Jamaican ancestry through her paternal grandmother, who carried the family name Ming.
During her early years, Campbell lived in Rome, where her mother worked as a modern dancer.Following their return to London, she was left in the care of her maternal grandmother, Ruby, while her mother travelled across Europe with the dance troupe Fantastica. Campbell later blamed her ill temper and well-documented violent outbursts on the emotional trauma of being abandoned by her mother as a child, stating, "It comes from, I think, an abandonment issue and it comes from also trying to just build up a family around me that's not my immediate family and if I feel a mistrust, then all my cards go down.

In 1986, Campbell was scouted by Beth Boldt, head of the Synchro model agency, while window-shopping in Covent Garden. Her career quickly took off—in April, just before her sixteenth birthday, she appeared on the cover of British Elle. Over the next few years, Campbell's success grew steadily: she walked the runway for such designers as Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa, and Isaac Mizrahi, and posed for such photographers as Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, and Bruce Weber. By the late 1980s, Campbell was part of a trio of models—the others being Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista—known as the "Trinity",who became the most recognisable and in-demand models of their generation.
When faced with discrimination, Campbell received support from her friends; she later quoted Turlington and Evangelista as telling Dolce & Gabbana, "If you don't use Naomi, you don't get us." In December 1987, she appeared on the cover of British Vogue, as that publication's first black cover girl since 1966. In August 1988, she became the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, after her friend and mentor, designer Yves St. Laurent, threatened to withdraw his advertising from the magazine if it continued to refuse to place black models on its cover. The following year, she appeared on the cover of American Vogue, which marked the first time a black model graced the front of the September issue, traditionally the year's biggest and most important issue.
In January 1990, Campbell, who was declared "the reigning megamodel of them all" by Interview, appeared with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Tatjana Patitz on an iconic cover of British Vogue, shot by Peter Lindbergh.The group was subsequently cast to star in the music video for George Michael's "Freedom! '90".By then, Campbell—along with Turlington, Evangelista, Crawford, and Claudia Schiffer—formed an elite group of models declared "supermodels" by the fashion industry.With the addition of newcomer Kate Moss, they were collectively known as the "Big Six".
In March 1991, in a defining moment of the so-called supermodel era, Campbell walked the runway for Versace with Turlington, Evangelista, and Crawford, arm-in-arm and lip-synching the words to "Freedom! '90". Later that year, she starred as Michael Jackson's love interest in the music video for "In the Closet". In April 1992, she posed with several other top models for the hundredth-anniversary cover of American Vogue, shot by Patrick Demarchelier. That same year, she appeared in Madonna's controversial book Sex, in a set of nude photos with Madonna and rapper Big Daddy Kane.

Charity work
Campbell is involved with several charitable causes. She supports the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, for which she organised a benefit Versace fashion show in 1998. Held at Nelson Mandela's South African presidential residence, the show was the subject of a documentary titled FashionKingdom, or alternatively, Naomi Conquers Africa. Campbell, whose mother has battled breast cancer, also supports Breakthrough Breast Cancer. In 2004, she was featured on FHM's charity single Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?, as well as in the accompanying music video, of which all profits were donated to Breakthrough. She appeared in a print and media campaign for the charity's fundraising initiative Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, and she opened a Breakthrough breast cancer research unit in 2009.

In 2005, Campbell founded the charity We Love Brazil, which aims to raise awareness and funds to fight poverty in Brazil through the sale of fabrics made by local women. That same year, Campbell founded the charity Fashion for Relief, which has organised fund-raising fashion shows to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the India terrorist attacks in 2009, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and the Japan earthquake in 2011. Fashion for Relief has reportedly raised £4.5 million. Since 2007, Campbell has been the honorary president of Athla Onlus, an Italian organisation that works to further the social integration of young people with learning disabilities. In 2009, Campbell became a goodwill ambassador for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. She has since joined the charity's patron, Sarah Brown, the wife of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, on several missions to promote maternal health.


Title Year Role Notes
The Chiffy Kids 1978 Snow White TV series; two episodes
Kids 1979 April TV series; two episodes
The Cosby Show 1988 Julia TV series; three episodes
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 1990 Helen TV series; one episode
Cool as Ice 1991 Singer
Models: The Film 1991 Herself Documentary
The Night We Never Met 1993 Shopper
Harry Enfield and Chums 1994 Herself TV series; one episode
Prêt-à-Porter 1994 Herself Documentary
Miami Rhapsody 1995 Kaia
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar 1995 Girl
New York Undercover 1995 Simone TV series; six episodes
Absolutely Fabulous 1995 Herself TV series; one episode
Unzipped 1995 Herself Documentary
Girl 6 1996 Girl #75
Invasion of Privacy 1996 Cindy Carmichael
Catwalk 1996 Herself Documentary
Burn Hollywood Burn 1997 Attendant #2
For Your Love 1998 Herself TV series; one episode
FashionKingdom 1998 Herself Documentary
Trippin' 1999 Naomi Shaffer
Prisoner of Love 1999 Tracy
Ali G Indahouse 2002 Herself
Fastlane 2003 Lena Savage TV series; one episode
Fat Slags 2004 Sales assistant
The Call 2006 Dark Angel – The Evil Short film
Ugly Betty 2008 Herself TV series; one episode
Karma, Confessions and Holi 2009 Jennifer
Rose, c'est Paris 2010 Herself TV film
Por el Camino 2010 Herself

Halle Berry

Maria Halle Berry, known professionally as Halle Berry, was born August 14, 1966) is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was also nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2011, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has also been involved in the production side of several of the films in which she performed.
Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing as the 1st runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant (1986), and coming in 6th place in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), X-Men (2000) and its sequels, and as Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day (2002). She also won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person—one of the few performers to do so.

Personal life
Family and relationships
Berry has been married twice. Her first marriage was to former baseball player David Justice, shortly after midnight on January 1, 1993. The couple separated in 1996 and their divorce was finalized in 1997. Justice played with the Atlanta Braves and experienced a measure of fame as the team rose to prominence in the early 1990s. The couple found it difficult to maintain their relationship while he was playing baseball and she was filming elsewhere. Berry has stated publicly that she was so depressed after her breakup with Justice that she considered taking her own life, but she could not bear the thought of her mother finding her body.
Berry's second marriage was to musician Eric Benét. They met in 1997 and married in early 2001 on a beach in Santa Barbara. Berry credited Benét with support after she was involved in a February 2000 traffic collision, in which she suffered a concussion and left the scene of the accident before the police arrived. Some in the media complained that her misdemeanor hit and run charge was preferential treatment; she had also been the driver in an alleged hit and run incident three years earlier in which no charges were filed. The incident became fodder for comedians. Berry pled no contest, did community service, paid a fine and was placed on three years' probation. A civil lawsuit was settled out of court.
The couple separated in 2003. After the separation, Berry stated, "I want love, and I will find it, hopefully. While married to Benét, Berry adopted his daughter, India. The divorce was finalized in January 2005.
Berry has been a victim of domestic violence, and now works to help other victims. In 2005, she said, "Domestic violence is something I've known about since I was a child. My mother was a victim of it. Early on in my life I made choices, and I chose men that were abusive because that was what I knew growing up...First time it happened, I knew enough to keep moving.
In November 2005, Berry began dating French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry, nine years her junior. The couple met at a Versace photoshoot. After six months with Aubry, she stated in an interview, "I'm really happy in my personal life, which is a novelty to me. You know, I'm not the girl that has the best relationships.
At one point, Berry had indicated that she planned to adopt children, but her experience playing a mother in Things We Lost In The Fire opened her mind to the possibility of motherhood. After initially denying rumors, she confirmed in September 2007 that she was three months pregnant.Berry gave birth to a girl named Nahla Ariela Aubry on March 16, 2008, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Nahla means "honeybee" in Arabic; Ariela is Hebrew for "lion for God". Berry hired security guards after receiving racist threats to her unborn baby from a stalker, who said her child will be "cut into hundreds of pieces".
At one time, Berry indicated that she did not intend to marry again, insisting the couple's life was already complete without the need for a marriage. She stated that she hoped to have a second child right away. Aubry told In Touch magazine, "I'd like Nahla to have a sibling in 2009.
On April 30, 2010, it was reported that Berry and Aubry had separated. Several days later, Berry's representative confirmed the relationship had ended, saying, "They have been split for some time, but remain friends and committed parents to their daughter. They worked out a financial and 50/50 custody deal with a family lawyer, but TMZ reported that it was not final. Aubry filed documents with the Los Angeles Superior Court on December 30, 2010, asking the court to formally recognize his paternity and grant a court order giving him and Berry joint legal and physical custody over their daughter. On January 31, 2011, Berry's representative told People that Berry had pulled out of the film New Year's Eve to make time for custody litigation because the actress "has serious concerns for her daughter's well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her". The publicist claimed that Berry "has attempted to resolve these custody issues amicably with her daughter's father...directly, but given his lack of cooperation, Halle has no choice but to seek swift judicial intervention. The following day, Aubry responded by saying through his representative that he was "disappointed in Halle's decision to falsely malign him publicly and for her own purposes", calling himself "a caring father who shares custody of Nahla". Aubry further stated that "he refuses to be pulled into her dispute over a canceled film production" and "also refuses to air their issues in the press as he believes this may ultimately harm their daughter".

In the media
Berry has stated that the manner in which people have reacted to her because of her racial background is often the result of ignorance. Her own self-identification has been influenced by her mother. She is quoted as saying:
After having many talks with my mother about the issue, she reinforced what she had always taught me. She said that even though you are half black and half white, you will be discriminated against in this country as a black person. People will not know when they see you that you have a white mother unless you wear a sign on your forehead. And, even if they did, so many people believe that if you have an ounce of black blood in you then you are black. So, therefore, I decided to let folks categorize me however they needed to.
While taping the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 19, 2007, Berry displayed a distorted image of her face, remarking: "Here's where I look like my Jewish cousin! During the editing of the program, the comment was obscured by a laugh track. Berry later stated "What happened was I was backstage before the show and I have three girls who are Jewish who work for me. We were going through pictures to see which ones looked silly, and one of my Jewish friends said of the big-nose picture, 'That could be your Jewish cousin!' And I guess it was fresh in my mind, and it just came out of my mouth. But I didn't mean to offend anybody. I didn't. I didn't mean any harm. – and after the show I realized it could be seen as offensive, so I asked Jay to take it out, and he did.
Berry took part in a nearly 2000-house party cell-phone bank campaign for Barack Obama in February 2008, and said that she will "collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear.

Early life
Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, though her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971. Berry's parents selected her middle name from Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Judith Ann (née Hawkins), who is Caucasian, was a psychiatric nurse. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was an African American hospital attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked; he later became a bus driver. Berry's maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins, was born in Ohio. Berry's parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister Heidi were raised exclusively by her mother. Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood, noting in 1992, "I haven't heard from him since he left. Maybe he's not alive.

Acting career
In the late 1980s, Berry went to Illinois to pursue a modeling career as well as acting. One of her first acting projects was a television series for local cable by Gordon Lake Productions called Chicago Force. In 1989, Berry landed the role of Emily Franklin in the short-lived ABC television series Living Dolls (a spin-off of Who's the Boss?), during the taping of which she lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes. She went on to have a recurring role on the long-running primetime serial Knots Landing. In 1992, Berry was cast as the love interest in the video for R. Kelly's seminal single, "Honey Love".

Her breakthrough feature film role was in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, in which she played a drug addict named Vivian. Her first co-starring role was in the 1991 film Strictly Business. In 1992, Berry portrayed a career woman who falls for Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy Boomerang. That same year, she caught the public's attention as a headstrong biracial slave in the TV adaptation of Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley. Berry was in the live-action Flintstones movie as "Sharon Stone", the sultry secretary who seduced Fred Flintstone.
Playing a former drug addict struggling to regain custody of her son in Losing Isaiah (1995), Berry tackled a more serious role, starring opposite Jessica Lange. She portrayed Sandra Beecher in Race the Sun (1996), which was based on a true story, and co-starred alongside Kurt Russell in Executive Decision. Beginning in 1996, she was a Revlon spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004.
1997, Halle starred alongside Natalie Deselle Reid in the comedy film, B*A*P*S. Although panned by critics, it showed Halle's acting versatility.In 1998, Berry received praise for her role in Bulworth as an intelligent woman raised by activists who gives a politician (Warren Beatty) a new lease on life. The same year, she played the singer Zola Taylor, one of the three wives of pop singer Frankie Lymon, in the biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love. In the 1999 HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, she portrayed the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Berry's performance was recognized with several awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

International success
As Bond girl Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson in the 2002 blockbuster Die Another Day, Berry recreated a scene from Dr. No, emerging from the surf to be greeted by James Bond as Ursula Andress had 40 years earlier. Lindy Hemming, costume designer on "Die Another Day", had insisted that Berry wear a bikini and knife as an homage. Berry has said of the scene: "It's splashy", "exciting", "sexy", "provocative" and "it will keep me still out there after winning an Oscar. The bikini scene was shot in Cadiz; the location was reportedly cold and windy, and footage has been released of Berry wrapped in thick towels in between takes to avoid catching a chill. According to a ITV news poll, Jinx was voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time. Berry was hurt during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. It was removed in a 30-minute operation.
After Berry won the Academy Award, rewrites were commissioned to give her more screentime for X2. Berry stated during interviews for X2 that she would not return as Storm unless the character had a significant presence comparable to the comic-book version.
In November 2003, she starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Robert Downey Jr., during which she broke her arm. Downey was supposed to grab her arm and twist but twisted too hard. Production was halted for eight weeks. It was a moderate hit at the United States box office, taking in $60 million; it earned another $80 million abroad. Berry appeared in the Limp Bizkit music video for "Behind Blue Eyes" for the motion picture soundtrack for the film. The same year, she was named #1 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll. In 2004, Berry was voted fourth of Empire magazine's 100 sexiest film stars of all time poll.
Berry received $12.5 million for the title role in the film Catwoman, a $100 million movie; it grossed $17 million on its first weekend. She was awarded a "worst actress" Razzie award in 2005 for this role. She appeared at the ceremony to accept the award in person (making her the third person, and second actor, to ever do so) with a sense of humor, considering it an experience of the "rock bottom" in order to be "at the top". Holding the Academy Award in one hand and the Razzie in the other she said, "I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It's not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you. When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there's no way you could be a good winner. The Fund for Animals praised Berry's compassion towards cats and for squelching rumors that she was keeping a Bengal tiger from the sets of Catwoman as a "pet.


Title Year Role Notes
Living Dolls 1989 Emily Franklin TV (canceled after 13 episodes)
Amen 1991 Claire TV series, episode: "Unforgettable"
A Different World 1991 Jaclyn TV series, episode: "Love, Hillman-Style"
They Came from Outer Space 1991 Rene TV series, episode: "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow"
Knots Landing 1991 Debbie Porter TV (cast member in 1991)
Jungle Fever 1991 Vivian Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
Strictly Business 1991 Natalie
The Last Boy Scout 1991 Cory
Boomerang 1992 Angela Lewis
Alex Haley's Queen 1993 Queen NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
CB4 1993 Herself Cameo
Father Hood 1993 Kathleen Mercer
The Program 1993 Autumn Haley
The Flintstones 1994 Sharon Stone
Solomon & Sheba 1995 Nikhaule/Queen Sheba TV
Losing Isaiah 1995 Khaila Richards
Executive Decision 1996 Jean
Race the Sun 1996 Miss Sandra Beecher
Girl 6 1996 Cameo
The Rich Man's Wife 1996 Josie Potenza
B*A*P*S 1997 Nisi
The Wedding 1998 Shelby Coles TV
Bulworth 1998 Nina
Why Do Fools Fall in Love 1998 Zola Taylor
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 1999 Dorothy Dandridge Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
X-Men 2000 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Welcome to Hollywood 2000 Documentary
Swordfish 2001 Ginger Knowles NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Monster's Ball 2001 Leticia Musgrove Academy Award for Best Actress
Black Reel Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Silver Bear for Best Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Female
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Die Another Day 2002 Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson NAACP Image Award
X2: X-Men United 2003 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Gothika 2003 Miranda Grey Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Actress – Drama/Action Adventure
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Kids Choice Award for Best Favorite Actress
Nominated – Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
Catwoman 2004 Patience Phillips / Catwoman Razzie Award for Worst Actress
Their Eyes Were Watching God 2005 Janie Starks Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actress: T.V. Movie/Cable
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Robots 2005 Cappy (Voice)
X-Men: The Last Stand 2006 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Perfect Stranger 2007 Rowena Price
Things We Lost in the Fire 2007 Audrey Burke
Frankie and Alice 2010 Frankie/Alice African-American Film Critics Association for Best Actress
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—PRISM Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film