And it’s that sort of tenacity and bravery that has made Berry one of the most successful African-American actresses in history. She went on to appear in ground-breaking films like “Jungle Fever,” “Losing Isaiah,” “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” and more. Throughout the years, she has won several prestigious awards for her talent, but in 2002, she made history when she became the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Leading Actress, for her role in Monster’s Ball.
During her now famous teary acceptance speech, she thanked her Black female Hollywood predecessors and let the new generation of aspiring actresses know that this level of success in the film world is attainable if they believe in themselves and continue to work hard.
“This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that 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. Thank you. I’m so honored. I’m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow.”