Thursday, April 05, 2007

Halle Gets Her Hollywood Star

HURRAY FOR HALLE-WOOD!


One of the many of perks of not working is having free time. And Tuesday, April 3rd, was a great day not to have a clock to punch. I rose early to prepare to see, Halle Berry, one of my favorite celebrities receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A few years ago, I was blessed to actually meet her while working as a lowly PA on the Academy Awards. She was quite friendly and listened to me nervously thank her for being an inspiration. Meeting her was a special moment for me, so to witness her receive a star was important to me. It was also important to get there early because standing only 5 ft. 2' has its limitations. One ill-placed tall person in the crowd could potentially ruin my celebrity viewing experience.

I arrived at the site 9:30 am thinking I was a head of the crowd. NOT! Some tourists and fans were already there occupying the best spots near the VIP section. However, I was still early enough to get a decent spot next to the metal barricades around the section for press. Her star is located right in front of the Kodak theater—literally right below the theater's name. Truly, it's a prime spot some celeb might sacrifice their personal assistant to the film gods to have. For two hours, I stood in one spot with my digital camera and the book, "We Speak Your Name". It features Pearl Cleage's poem from Oprah's Legends Ball. The chances of Halle actually signing it were slim, I knew, but I've witnessed greater miracles in my lifetime.

By 10:30 am, the morning chill was gone and the heat of the day began. Some press and organizers of the event had arrived. I recognized the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, sitting in the shade of a huge umbrella. As security officers took their positions around the venue, hats and t-shirts promoting Halle's new movie, "The Perfect Stranger" were given to members of the crowd. Suddenly, people near the stage began yelling. Actor, Samuel L. Jackson, arrived dressed in an light grey suit and his signature Kangol hat. For a while, he greeted fans, signed autographs, and posed for the press before joining his wife, LaTanya, and actor Gary Dourdan in VIP.

At long last, the woman of the hour finally graced us with her presence. " Halle! Halle!," the enthusiastic crowd cheered as she approached the stage. To get a better view, I stood on the barricade, bumping heads and elbows with the little girls and photographer on either side of me. For a minute, it felt like I was in 3 Stooges skit. Then once some heads and arms cleared I finally saw her. Just as gorgeous as you would expect, Halle stood before the adoring crowd crying softly while old flirt, Johnny Grant, praised her talent and beauty. Then the accolades continued with speeches from industry associates and friends. Sam Jackson talked about their working together in "Jungle Fever" and how he admired her courage and tenacity in taking a variety of roles that showcased her acting ability not just her good looks. Later in her speech, she genuinely thanked him for being her first acting coach and dear friend. Without him, Berry admitted, she could not have convincingly pulled off her role as a drug addict in "Jungle Fever."

Unfortunately, from my position I could not see everything. Camera crews and heads often blocked my shot, but I could still hear her speech clearly. She sincerely thanked the crowd for showing up and for expressing their support because as she put it "sometimes it can get a little heavy" when haters become overly critical.
Hurray for Halle-wood! She reflected on seeing Dorothy Dandridge's star when she first arrived in Hollywood and feeling a connection. She then expressed how important it was as a Black female to be an inspiration to other actresses of color and actresses in general. Lastly, Halle also gave props to her mother, whom she invited on stage with her.

Once it was over, press vying for profitable soundbites trampled on what was sacred ground minutes before. Just as Halle predicted, her name was going to be walked on for an eternity. But now her being walked all over would have some significance. When a dream-seeking young woman is told for the 100th time she didn't get the part or the job, she can stand on Halle's star, adjacent to the home of the Academy Awards, feel a connection and hopefully be motivated to keep striving toward her goals. This photo is from the Hollywood Walk of Fame site.

Before leaving the venue, a really nice individual, know as Robirob by Halle's fan club members, took a picture of the star for me. She runs Halle's fan website, Hallewood.com. If you want to know anything about Halle it is definitely the site to visit. Thank you, Robi:-)

Of course, I captured the event with my little digital camera. It ain't perfect, but not much in life really is. So just enjoy!

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