February 8th, 2011
01:25 PM ET
As her custody battle with ex Gabriel Aubry turns ugly, Halle Berry is speaking out to the March issue of Ebony magazine about their daughter Nahla and the role that race plays in her own relationships.
The Oscar winner, whose mother is white and father is black, tells Ebony that she identifies herself as a black woman but plans to let 2 1/2-year-old Nahla — whose dad is white and French Canadian — make her own decision about her race when she's old enough.
"I'm not going to put a label on it," she says. "I had to decide for myself, and that's what she's going to have to decide — how she identifies herself in the world. And I think, largely, that will be based on how the world identifies her. That's how I identified myself."
But, Berry adds, "I feel like she's black. I'm black and I'm her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory."
Regardless, the actress acknowledges that being biracial isn't easy.
"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," she explains. "I identify as a black woman, but I've always had to embrace my mother and the white side of who I am, too. By choosing, I've often [wondered], ‘Well, would that make her feel like I'm invalidating her by choosing to identify more with the black side of myself?'"
Like Aubry, Berry's current boyfriend, actor Olivier Martinez, is white, but she tells Ebony love has nothing to do with skin color.
"I'm very connected to my community, and I want black people to know that I haven't abandoned them because I've had a child with a man outside of my race and I'm dating someone now outside of my race who is Spanish and French," says Berry, who has romanced men from a variety of ethnic groups.
"I have never been more clear about who I am as a black woman...the people I have dated sort of hold up a mirror to me and help me realize more of who I really am," she said. "And who I really am is a black woman who is struggling to make my race proud of me, who is struggling to move black women forward in the profession I've chosen, and those relationships have actually helped me identify myself more clearly. Not to say that I wasn't able to do that when I was married to two black men, but it certainly hasn't detracted from feeling very connected to my community, and who I really am at my core."
Berry goes on to say that "the truth is that it's taken me a long time to learn how to love myself, and color isn't really a part of what I look at when I'm deciding who I want to spend time with. I look for the soul, the person, the evolution, what he believes in, who [he is as a person] and how does it affect me in a positive way."
Divorced from athlete David Justice and singer Eric Benet, Berry has vowed to never marry again, but now says she might make an exception.
"The only reason I would is if I found somebody who proved to be on-another-level special to me," she says. "And if for some reason I felt like it would be important for Nahla and her sense of family unit. I've been married twice, and [the marriages] didn't work out. They were painful divorces, and I'm not so sure I ever want to subject myself to that kind of pain and heartbreak again. I don't know if I can."
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