The opening lines to Halle Berry’s film Bruised says
in heavy handed metaphor describing the character,
Justice has taken a beating
And if the analogy or metaphor is America
it sure has
Just days after a young white man was acquitted of acquiring
an assault weapon /attending a Black Lives Matter protest and
killing 2 unarmed people /wounding another
And all the participants and instigators of the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill
have not been charged including the former president who instigated
and set up a war room to watch while other key members of government
bused the looters to and from the place
And we all know if they were Black the place would have swarmed with
swat teams and helicopters
No one would have left the grounds
They would have been corralled
They would have shut down the city like they did after those two kids
set off a bomb at the Boston marathon
They would have gone door to door
There would have been a curfew
There are black Panthers still rotting in prison and death row
lives destroyed for lots less than the Capitol rioters
In Texas and Mississippi, the Supreme court is trying to overturn roe vs wade
And so as in the film Justice has been abandoned
Justice has abandoned her children
Justice is down and out
Justice has been assaulted
Justice has been robbed
And in the end as in the real life like the killers of Amaud Arbery
prosecuted and held accountable through a great battle
Justice eventually triumphs
but we know in America this is idealistic
surely not the case
And too I have problems with Halle Berry’s depictions of
Black and poor or working class women
Even the white reviewers of Bruised are shocked by
the stereotypes and utter debasement
Halle always gets this faux southern down home accent like Obama when he lectures
And we all know the hood and South is where neither he nor she is from
have to say it’s brilliant to redo the film Rocky
from a black woman’s standpoint
Have the trainer be a visible Black lesbian
in the women’s world of sports
The trainer played by Sheila is tall dark and lanky
And it becomes even a bit of a love story
between Halle’s character and the trainer
which is a bold choice
They even make love
I thought wow but was also ambivalent
asking is Halle cashing in on the queer cinema craze
But then I thought maybe she’s smart and fluid
But when she told the character you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met
I already knew where it was going
She didn’t tell the black dark skinned woman you’re beautiful
but says I want to be on my own
doesn’t even say let’s check back later
So she’s used and abandoned
And in that big fight scene which btwn Rocky and Apollo Creed
Adrienne’s character makes it a love story
The black lesbian in Bruised nvr attends the fight at all
used up until she’s no longer needed and
the last scenes are btwn Halle and a man
But the film still ends on a touching note
When her son who’s been silent the entire film starts to speak,
finds his voice
And in heavy handed metaphor
Justice does too.


Cite this article: Pamela Sneed, “BRUISED,” in “Exploring Indisposability: The Entanglements of Crip Art,” Colloquium, Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 8, no. 1 (Spring 2022),


About the Author(s): Pamela Sneed is a poet, writer, and performer.