Halle Berry Headlines Women in Sport Summit – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry
The ESPNW: Women + Sports Summit featured several black women breaking down barriers in the sports and entertainment industry. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry was the keynote speaker at the conference.
Berry has opened up about her directorial debut and her starring role in the movie “Bruised” which is set to premiere on Netflix on November 24. She plays Jackie Justice, an MMA fighter and a working mother to redeem herself. “Bruised” provided a classic outsider story, which is what drew Berry to the project.
“Like all great fighting stories, there is an underdog who tries to overcome an obstacle to gain redemption and realize his full potential,” Berry said. “I know the audience loves these stories because they see themselves reflected. We all had to make our way through something.
Initially, the main character was supposed to be an Irish woman in her twenties, but Berry wanted to add something unique to the lexicon of fighting movies. She then rethought the lead role of a middle-aged African American woman.
“To have a chance and then another chance is one thing, to have a last chance is something completely different and I thought of a more compelling story to see someone fight for their life,” Berry said.
Berry is also a fan of boxing and UFC fighting. Growing up, she became a fan of Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns. Seeing women like Rhonda Rousey fight in the UFC also piqued her interest.
To train for the film, Berry learned Jujitsu, Judo, Taekwondo, wrestling and Muay Thai. She eventually trained for three years for this role.
“By the last year and a half, it was probably five days a week, four hours a day and I was really learning all of these martial arts that I had never known,” Berry said. “The training has been pretty intense, I knew when I first started that you can’t suddenly claim to be a world class athlete.”
Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX, a law that ended gender discrimination in academia. NAACP Image Award-winning documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter is co-director and executive producer of the “Fifty / 50: Title IX at Fifty Years” docuseries. Porter noted how misunderstood Title IX is.
“We are following Angel City as they start their new professional football club,” Porter said. “We are following the high school girls in Berkeley as they continued their school under Title IX for Equal Opportunity and Education.”
Nicole Lynn, President of Football Operations at Klutch Sports spoke about how she became the first black woman to represent one of the NFL’s top three picks in defensive back Quinnen Williams’ draft in 2019.
“I asked a 21 year old to give it a shot, he was the number one player in college football,” said Lynn. “[He] said: “I know I’m going to be number one, or number two or number three, whoever I sign with, why don’t I give a woman a chance and change the trajectory of women’s sport to always.”