Oscars Feature Two Diverse Moments

Feb 28, 2011

In a year when nearly every Oscar nominee was white, the 83rd Oscars featured two multicultural moments:

At the completion of the "In Memorium" section, Halle Berry, the first African American Best Actress Oscar winner, paid tribute to Lena Horne. Ms. Horne was the first Black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major movie studios. Acknowledged as a trail blazer, Ms. Horne not only paved the way for future performers, she also paid a price, both personally and professionally.

"It's not the load that breaks you. It's how you carry it."
- Lena Horne

The evening closed with a rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" performed by P.S. 22, a chorus of Staten Island 5th graders from a wide cross section of ethnic groups and socio-economic levels. "These kids come from families who are having a tough time economically," choir director Gregg Breinberg told the Los Angeles Times. "They have a hard time expressing themselves with words, but through this choral experience, there's so much emotion there, both coming from them and the people watching them."