Halle Berry champions female empowerment in Critics Choice Awards speech

Yes Halle!

Halle Berry, Ponytail
(Image credit: Rex)

Halle Berry's Critics Choice Awards speech touched the hearts of many, as she encouraged women to stand up and tell their stories, and be their authentic self.

The 55-year-old actor received the SeeHer award at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards, which took place at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday 13 March.

The award, which was received by Zendaya last year, recognises women who accurately portray women and girls in the media.

The Bruised director and actor received her gong with grace, and in her speech urged women to speak their truths "no matter how uncomfortable".

She said: "[Storytelling] can raise our consciousness and help us think outside of ourselves and our individual circumstances. I realised that we truly need to see each other's reality — no matter how uncomfortable it makes us — so that we can stop judging and stop pointing fingers, but rather find compassion and empathy for the others."

Addressing how the entertainment industry has shifted over the years, Halle said: "I've been in the business for 30 years, and I used to think that if I could play the part of a white man, then I was winning. But you know what, want to know why that didn't work? Because, if you didn't know, I'm not a white man.

"So, for those roles to work, they would have to be substantially changed. It would have to be written with the reality of my journey, in all of its beauty and all of its pain.

"This is why I am so grateful to be standing and living in this moment where women are standing up and we are telling our own stories."

Halle encouraged people to show their characters in their natural "complexities", and binaries within their personality, to be "honest and true" when storytelling.

She continued: "We will use our emotional intelligence and we will tell stories that don't fit preconceived notions. No, we will tell stories that see us fully in all our multitudes and contradictions. Because we are confident and we are scared. We are vulnerable and we are strong. ... We are everything and all of that and all at the same time.

"If we deny our complexities, then we deny our humanity. We won't always be pretty, and we will never be perfect, but what we will be is always honest and true — no matter how uncomfortable that makes you. These are the stories we have to fight to tell, and these are the stories that the world needs to see."

She concluded her heartfelt speech: "So, to every little girl who feels unseen and unheard, this is our way of saying to you: We love you and we see you, and you deserve every good thing in this world."

Maisie Bovingdon

Maisie is a writer and editor, covering Royal News, Showbiz, Lifestyle content, as well as Shopping Writing and E-Commerce, for print and digital publications, including Marie Claire, Hello!, Fabulous, Mail Online and Yahoo!.