In her best supporting actress acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globes, Regina King vowed to hire 50 percent women for all her production projects going forward. King told “CBS This Morning” that as soon as she walked off the stage, powerful Hollywood men reached out to offer their help.
“Tyler Perry, immediately after I got off, ‘Whatever, whatever I need to do to help you accomplish that.’ Emails from [producer] Bert Salke, John Levey, a casting director that I worked with before … all hands are on deck. That’s where it starts. It takes one little seed,” King said.
In her remarks, King acknowledged the promise would be “tough” to uphold and challenged not just her peers but all people in a position of power to do the same.
“Here I am blessed with an opportunity to have a platform that’s bigger than the average woman … and while for a quick second I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to say, I knew that I needed to take the moment to say something at a time when women, we are using our voices and we are being heard. I needed to shoot my shot,” King said.
King, who has been acting in film and television for more than three decades, won for her role in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which is based on a novel by James Baldwin of the same name. The story follows two young lovers, Tish and Fonny, whose future is in jeopardy after Fonny is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. King plays Tish’s mother, Sharon.
“She’s kind of an amalgamation of all the women in my life,” King said of the character. “I’m blessed enough to come from a family that that’s how we get through everything — love and support. And I think so many of us in the world mirror that same reality. So, I knew her. I knew her. I know her.”
When Tish finds out she’s pregnant with a partner behind bars, her father, mother and sister band together to try and prove his innocence. King said she was drawn to the partnership between her character, Sharon, and her husband in the story, Joe.
“I think that that’s one of the beautiful thing about this story. James Baldwin was conscious enough to make sure that it was a partnership between Joe and Sharon. You know, so often we see these stories, and the father, the patriarch isn’t there. You get to see that love between a father and his daughters. Between him and another father and that’s important for us to see. Because we don’t get to see it but we do live it and experience it,” King said.
At the New York Film Critic’s Circle Awards, where she also took home the award for best supporting actress, King stressed that she hopes audiences don’t look at “Beale Street’s” black cast and think of it as a “black movie.”
“I think so often just we judge things just by what we see immediately. And you look at this beautiful billboard or poster and just assume that it’s not a story for you,” King said. “It is an American story. Because look, 1974 is when James Baldwin wrote this book and we’re still addressing those same issues 45 years later. So, yeah, that’s an American story. That’s something that we have to address as a country. And I feel like at the end of the day, isn’t love universal?”