Halle Berry is (so far) the only Black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress and she portrayed the first Black woman ever nominated for that same award. She’s also been a Bond Girl and Storm in the X-Men franchise. But she had an important frock flick start and maybe she’ll turn up in historical costume again!
Queen in Queen (1993)
This miniseries was based on Alex Haley’s semi-biographical novel inspired by his grandmother, the title character, who was the daughter of an enslaved woman & her white owner.
Like Haley’s Roots, this show helped bring Black history to a wider audience.
Nikhaule / Queen Sheba in Solomon & Sheba (1995)
A Biblical movie that’s also a romance? IDK but it gets really positive reviews on IMDB.
Co-starring Jimmy Smitts.
Shelby Coles in The Wedding (1998)
A multilayered miniseries set in the 1950s covering race, class, & colorism.
Zola Taylor in Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)
Based on a real story, three women each claim to be the widow of 1950s doo-wop singer Frankie Lymon.
Berry’s character was a singer in the R&B group the Platters.
“I really loved that I got to play the whole gamut in one movie. I mean, when will I ever get to play a White woman and an Asian man, and then an extraterrestrial creature from another planet, or an old native in the beginning in the 1800s who was so disempowered to end up being a high priestess of the world?”
What Halle Berry historical costume roles have you seen?
She is so beautiful!
While the films she’s been in aren’t always worth a look, Ms. Berry almost always is – I’m not going to lie, the Look she wears in that third illustration for INTRODUCING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE hits so many of my buttons you can call me “PlayStation”.
Second photo from ‘The Wedding’ is actually Lynn Whitfield (probably from her film Eve’s Bayour), not Halle Berry.
Whitfield plays her mother in “The Wedding”.
Talk about playing Gertrude; guess Lynn’s character was supposed to be a child bride?
Good to see a biblical movie whose lead characters aren’t blond and blue-eyed (I assume Smitts is Solomon). And that headdress! Berry has such panache in all her roles.
I agree with you but Solomon and Sheba weren’t African American either. With all respect to the beliefs of the Ethiopians Sheba was most likely from Saba, an ancient Arabian state and Solomon of course was Jewish.
That said Smitts and Berry look so good that I totally don’t mind!
The headress is amazing and looks as if it was inspired by the crowns of Sumerian queens.
Of the above, I’ve only seen Cloud Atlas. I’m glad I watched, it, doubt I’ll see it again due to the use of yellowface on other actors.
Let’s hope the Oscars’ selection committees will shake themselves up in the future. Halle Berry being the only non-white recipient is ridiculous. I’ve only seen Cloud Atlas, but thought Halle Berry did a good job. I’m interested to investigate these other films – thanks for highlighting them!
Definitely check her out as Dorothy Dandridge! She’s really great in Why Do Fools Fall in Love also, and the costumes are a feast for the eyes in both!
Not quite a Frock Flick (should be as in was set in the early 70’s and has some FAB costumes), but her portrayal of a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in Frankie & Alice was amazing. Watching her flow between different identities, was a thing of beauty (similar to James McAvoy when he portrayed someone with DID). She’s fabulous it in and it’s a shame it didn’t get a wider audience and any acclaim. I definitely recommend seeing it.
Really like Their Eyes Were Watching God
I worked on “Queen”. I made her corsets (you get to actually see one when she’s raped and kicked out of town) and some things in the bustle era of the miniseries (they were sharecroppers then so nothing fancy). Most of the mid- 19th century stuff was rented, but we tried to spruce them up a bit. In the last part of the miniseries I made her an “old lady suit” of padding to wear under things. I gave her some booty, but she made me take it out.
Then I worked on “The Wedding”. Many things were rented but I made some things for her, like a canvas ticking “play suit”.
I’ve seen several of these. I just couldn’t get into her as Queenie because of the makeup. Even though Halle Berry is biracial just like the character, she was not as light skinned as they wanted/needed the character to be, and that makeup was a HUGE distraction. I think it was a situation of Halle Berry coming to prominence at that time and they wanted to cast her because of popularity. I wish they would’ve let her skin tone alone [like they did with Vanessa Williams in The Courage to Love] or gotten a better makeup artist. But if I remember correctly, Queen was able to pass for white, which Halle Berry cannot, and that was an important plot point for the story. She’s a very good actress, but she was undone by that makeup. Cloud Atlas was–there are NO words!! But now I MUST hunt down Solomon and Sheba. The costumes look awesome and Jimmy Smits looks like half of the boys I had crushes on in the 90s!!! Love this WCW choice!!!