Starring Regina King
February 25, 2019   |   Written by Tonja Renée Stidhum

Article taken from The Root.

There may not have been any Kevin Hart yelling “nooooo, I wasn’t ready!” to any of the nominees, but the 91st Academy Awards brought the blackness.

February 2019 has provided us a horrible Black History Month so far, but queens such as Regina King and blackety-black films such as Black Pantherswooped in to save the day. In fact, Black Panther’s wins brought home Marvel Studios’ first-ever Oscar statuettes.

As I did at the Grammys, I hung out in the press room amongst my fellow journalists and delicious food (shrimp!). This time, The Root’s weekend editor Jay Connor came along for the ride. We were tag-team partners, oscillating on press room questions. We killed it.

The Winners

The first few awards were very, very black. #OscarsSoBlack? Suffice to say, Jay and I were pleased.

Regina King won her first Academy Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s an extra flex, because this was also her first nomination. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Regina BEEN King.

“To be standing here representing one of the greatest artists of our time, James Baldwin — it’s a little surreal,” said a tearful King. “James Baldwin birthed this baby and Barry, you nurtured her, you surrounded her with so much love and support, so it’s appropriate for me to be standing here because I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone.”

As I watched King receive her well-deserved award, I immediately thought of the emotionally wrought scene she played opposite actress Emily Rios, in which King’s character Sharon finally confronts Fonny’s accuser Victoria (Rios). I asked King about the particular inspiration she drew from to portray such raw and visceral emotion.

As King told The Root in the press room:

You know, all of us, we just pulled on being women, and if we have not experienced a violation on that level firsthand, we have lifted a sister up through that. And that, you know, even all the way from when the abuelitas came in and escorted her off, that was something that was universal. Every woman that had something to do with this production, the understanding and the need to make sure that it was very clear in the story that we all knew that she was raped. It wasn’t Fonny, but she was raped. And we hold each other up through a secret that shouldn’t be a secret.

So often, that’s the beautiful thing about the Me Too Movement—and the Me Too Movement has, I think, has gone even beyond that with creating opportunities for women to find their voice even beyond just being violated sexually, but being marginalized, being violated. When you have put in the work to be at the table and being denied a seat at the table, this movement has allowed us and has inspired us to say “no, I am supposed to have a seat at that table.” So that energy was going on throughout the production of that film of this film. Barry [Jenkins] supported that and lifted it up as well. And that’s the thing. When you have men and women working together, pretty amazing things happen.