All throughout February, Noovie will be celebrating Black History Month and paying tribute to the Black women and men who are creating change in today's movies. As such, there's no one better to spotlight first than actress-director Regina King, who's been setting the example for over three plus decades.
How You Know Her
She's won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for "If Beale Street Could Talk." She's won four Primetime Emmy Awards (two for Supporting Actress for "American Crime"; and two for Lead Actress for Netflix's "Seven Seconds" and HBO's "Watchmen"). That, by the way, is the most for any African-American actor.
Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.
And she's a leading contender this year to be nominated for another Academy Award, this time for Best Director for "One Night in Miami..." Oh, and it's her feature-film directing debut.
Not bad at all for an actress who's been leading the way since 1985, when a 14-year-old King debuted on tv's "227" as the fresh-faced Brenda Jenkins.
Their Life So Far
King was born and raised in Los Angeles, growing up in the neighborhood of View Park-Windsor Hills, one of two daughters of divorced couple Gloria Cain, a special education teacher, and Thomas King, an electrician. Her younger sister Reina is a former actress who made appearances in such '80s tv fare as "What's Happening Now!!" and '80s films "Maid to Order" and "Scrooged."
Regina and Reina's names both mean, in Latin and Spanish, "queen."
While King took time after high school to attend the University of Southern California, she still continued to make an impression in films, including memorable performances in the John Singleton-directed "Boyz n the Hood," "Poetic Justice" and "Higher Learning," and the classic comedy "Friday."
She dazzled as well as the charismatic wife and mother Marcee Tidwell, opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in an Oscar-winning turn as Rod Tidwell in the Tom Cruise megahit "Jerry Maguire."
Throughout the '00s and 2010s, King continued to dominate, starring in a long list of hit films and series. On TV, she appeared on "24," "The Big Bang Theory," "Southland" and more. On film, her credits included "A Cinderella Story," "The Ant Bully" and "Ray."
The Movie to Watch
Because she's so prolific, we're actually recommending two movies for Ms. King. First is her Oscar-winning turn as the dedicated mother of a young man unjustly accused of a crime in "If Beale Street Could Talk." It's a truly moving performance and film from Barry Jenkins, the director of previous Best Picture winner "Moonlight."
Our second recommendation is King's current directorial project "One Night in Miami…," which is a dynamic, impactful, fictional recounting of the real night in Miami in Februrary, 1964, when boxing champ Muhammad Ali, activist Malcolm X, pro football star Jim Brown and singer Sam Cooke met up after Ali's victory over Sonny Liston. King, who'd helmed several tv show episodes before her movie debut, shows a remarkable hand guiding the actors, and opening up the original stage play to a broader cinematic canvas.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Crime Drama / 2018
In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
One Night in Miami
Drama / 2020
On the night of Feb. 25, 1964, in Miami, Cassius Clay joins Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcom X, and they discuss the responsibility of being successful black men during the civil rights movement.
What's Up Next
Regina King will return next as one of the major stars in an all-star cast in "The Harder They Fall." Directed by British filmmaker Jeymes Samuel (aka The Bulitts), it's an American western about real-life African-American cowboy Nat Love. The story finds Love putting together his old gang to seek retribution against the man who killed his parents. The cast features Jonathan Majors ("Da 5 Bloods," "Lovecraft Country") as Love, and co-stars King, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield and Delroy Lindo. Look forward to its debut on Netflix sometime here in 2021.
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