Wednesday, November 4, 2015

History Made At 'Black Women Of Bond Tribute'

Gloria Hendry, Trina Parks, Halle Berry and Naomie Harris
Photo by Darlene Donloe

By Darlene Donloe

It was a night of Bond-ing as the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and Essence hosted a Black Women of Bond Tribute Tuesday night at the California African American Museum (CAAM).

Trina Parks, Gloria Hendry, Halle Berry and Naomi Harris were all recognized as the Black women who have made contributions to the James Bond franchise. It was the first time the four women had all been together at the same time. Grace Jones was not in attendance.

SPECTRE, the latest James Bond 007 adventure, is in theaters Friday, Nov. 6.

During the celebration, footage was shown from the Bond films that featured the four actresses in their historic roles. 

A pioneer, Parks, the first Black Bond girl (1971 Diamonds Are Forever) told the appreciative crowd that the event was ‘the first time’ any of them had been celebrated as part of the James Bond 007 franchise.

Gloria Hendry (1973 Live and Let Die) called the evening a ‘wonderful idea’ and thanked AAFCA, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Essence magazine.  She said it meant a lot to the four actresses being honored that evening and also spoke of how being part of the Bond franchise showed  ‘the possibilities’ that existed for black actresses.
Halle Berry

Halle Berry (2002 Die Another Day), wearing a sleeveless, flowing baby blue dress, was also in attendance. It was her first public appearance since it was announced she had filed for divorce from her husband of two years, Olivier Martinez.

“I am so proud to be a part, to stand up here with these gorgeous, talented women, ones that walked before me that paved the way,” said Berry. “I have so much respect. I’m humbled to be here and be reminded like everybody else what you ladies did and the path you paved so Naomi and I could be here with you. Thank you for the debt you paid. To be a part of the Bond franchise is to be a part of history - actually.  To be part of this legacy is a huge, huge honor. It’s a highlight of my career. I will never forget my experience. It’s one of the best experiences of my entire life. It’s first class all the way and with an energy and a social consciousness that I think makes us all feel proud to have been a part of that organization. We’re all proud to have been a part of the Bond family.”

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris, who is back for the second time as Miss Moneypenny, was sporting a short, red dress and a noticeable limp she said came from doing a lot of touring to promotion for the film.

Although not technically considered a "Bond girl," Harris has the significant distinction of having had a recurring role in the franchise.  She first appeared in Skyfall and is now featured in SPECTRE.

Although she was hobbling and in flat shoes, Harris said she had to come to the celebration.   She thanked the franchise for being ‘forward thinking.’

“Nothing would keep me away from being here tonight because I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you each and everyone of you,” said Harris. “You inspired me, each and everyone one of you with your incredible performances and with your representation of black female beauty. There were very few franchises at that time that represented black women and showed their power and intellect and to continue that until this day. I am so grateful and proud to represent the franchise.”

(l-r) Regina Robertson and Naomie Harris

Regina Robertson of Essence surprised Harris by revealing, for the first time, a large display of her first Essence cover, which is also the current issue.

All photos by Darlene Donloe

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