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March 25, 2002


Story by Danya Steele
Photos by CNN.com
and BBC News


The glass ceiling has been shattered. The door has been fiercely kicked open. With the sweeping and long deserving victory of what many refer to as “Black Hollywood” at last night’s 74th annual Oscar Awards, a landmark of success has been made upon both those within the entertainment business, as well as those of us regular folks who just enjoy catching a good flick every now and then.

As if you didn’t know already, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington took home two of the highest accolades at the renowned Oscar Awards in Hollywood, California last night. Sunday, March 24, 2002: mark it down in your calenders to brag to your children, kids; history’s been made.

Halle was honored as best actress for her starring role in the emotionally charging "Monsters Ball" as Denzel Washington took home the golden Oscar for best actor in light of his performance as a corrupt cop in “Training Day."

Both honors received full respect and admiration; however Halle is truly a pioneer in her category. For all of its 74 years that the Oscar Awards ceremony has existed, the honorary title and award of “best actress” has never been given to an African-American. Berry, who won the award over Nicole Kidman and Dame Judi Dench, fought through tears of disbelief and utter happiness throughout half of her acceptance speech. “This moment...is so much bigger...than me.” she began through dramatic gasps of air. “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women who stand beside me...Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox...and it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened....Tonight the glass ceiling was broken and I hope that this ceiling is shattered forever.”

"Two birds with one night, huh?" remarked Denzel during his acceptance speech. He is the second African-American ever to receive the honor; its first black recipient was Mr. Sidney Poitier, a legendary actor with an irrefutably successful acting regime. Poitier, who won the 1963 Oscar for best actor, was also honored at the awards ceremony for lifetime achievement. It’s been nearly 40 years since an African-American has won the title of best actor, and as Washington received his award he joked, “Forty years I've been chasing Sidney and what do they do -- they go and give [the award] to him in the same night." He continued, "I'll always be chasing you, Sidney. I'll always be following in your footsteps. There's nothing I would rather do, sir. God bless you."

For years, the Oscar Awards has turned its head and closed it eyes to the brilliancy of black talent and acting skill; on March 24, 2002 however, the blinds were lifted as respect was given to where it was long over due. Well goddamn. It’s about time.

Want To Know More? Here's Some Links To Check Out...
Hallewood -- Halle Berry's Official Website
Training Day -- Denzel Washington's Latest Movie
The Oscars -- Read a bit about the famous awards ceremony


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