Opinion: Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry split

Halle Berry is one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses; both beautiful and talented she was also the first African American woman to win an Academy Award. She is still the only African American woman to ever have won the award. Unfortunately for poor Halle, her personal life has been rather turbulent of late, with rumours of her split with Canadian model Gabriel Aubry being rather acrimonious.

Anyone who knows Halle Berry personally will attest to the fact that she is a fierce mother and quite honestly, it comes out in her life choices and interviews too. She recently dropped out of a film shoot in New York City for the film, “New Year’s Eve” in order to spend more time with her daughter Nahla, who was back in California.

This great commitment to her daughter is no surprise though when Halle says to Ebony Magazine, “Being a mother is probably the most important thing in my life right now. Career is important but nothing really supersedes my role as a mother. That’s the most important thing I’m going to do in this life at this point.” At the age of forty-four, she’s definitely worked long and hard enough to deserve it. And who wouldn’t want a mother as dedicated as Berry?

Unfortunately, rumours have been spreading that the split between Berry and Nahla’s father, Gabriel Aubry is becoming messy. A rep for Halle Berry told the Daily News that Berry was, “forced to pull out of a film production in New York … due to [a] pending custody litigation,” which involves Aubry. All the usual online gossip sources are filled with stories of the split and allegations of abusive text messages and behaviour from Aubry abound.

It appears that some of the problems are centred on the question of Nahla’s race. Reports claim that Aubry sees Nahla as white while Berry considers her to be black. Word is that he would allegedly become angry whenever anyone called his daughter black. Even though, Berry subscribes to the “one-drop” theory, “I feel like she’s black,” said Berry, talking about her daughter, although it is unclear whether she said this before or after any of these issues arose.

“I’m black and I’m her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory,” said Berry, referring to the law from the twentieth century, which asserted that a person was black if they had any black ancestry whatsoever. Still, that seems rather outdated by today’s standards but Berry is Nahla’s mother, so it must be up to her.

Berry, the star of Monster’s Ball and Swordfish, is herself of mixed racial descent, with a white mother and a black father, but as far as she’s concerned, Nahla will have to decide for herself what race she identifies with.

The question we need to ask, and clearly the answer is yes, before we even get to it: Does race still matter in the twenty first century? The answer is yes, even if we would like it to be no.

Berry continues, “If you’re of multiple races, you have a different challenge, a unique challenge of embracing all of who you are but still finding a way to identify yourself, and I think that’s often hard for us to do.”

And she’s quite right, it is a basic human need to feel a sense of belonging, and being in-between two differing race groups is by no means easy. But if someone as bubbly and exciting as Halle Berry could cope with it and come through the other side as successful as she is, there is definitely hope for Nahla. Who knows, she could follow in her mother’s footsteps and be another woman of African American descent to win an Academy Award.