The wins just keep on coming for the super talented Regina King. Eight months after winning an Academy Award for her heart-wrenching performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, she’s now showing her diverse range by starring as Angela Abar, a police officer with superhuman fighting skills in HBO’s Watchmen.
Regina King is the first Black woman to be a lead character in a TV series adapted from the DC Comic book. The character she plays, Angela Abar couldn’t be more different to the one she played in the Oscar-winning If Beale Street Could Talk.
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In a recent Glamour magazine interview, Regina said: “I wanted to play a superhero since I was a child, so I had to have a cape. But there was never the opportunity until now. I am doing this for the younger me.”
Watchmen is pulling in some very healthy stats. On average 7.1 million viewers tune in across HBO channels and streaming platforms. The series gives viewers all the fight scenes and time travel storylines you’d expect from a superhero franchise. But Watchmen also sets itself apart from most other superhero storylines by focusing on racism and ‘otherness’. Be prepared for no-holds-barred depictions of white supremacy, discrimination and injustices so harrowing that Regina talked about being in tears while filming some of the scenes.
As contrasting as her two most recent roles are, the common theme between them is injustice, a situation that Regina has had to overcome both on and offscreen. In If Beale Street Could Talk Regina plays a mother who is determined to do whatever it takes to clear her prospective son in law’s name after he was wrongly accused of rape. Offscreen, as a woman raising a Black son, Regina describes an awareness of unfair parallels in her real life. She told Glamour: “Every single day you have a little bit of fear when your child is going out and they’re not in your control anymore.” She explained that when teaching her son how to drive, she had to educate him on some of the injustices he may face as a young Black man:
“I have to tell my son what to do if he gets pulled over … Sure, I’m concerned about my kid getting into an accident but what was really on my mind was if Ian doesn’t come home because he was involved in something terrible because of some violent police episode. The Black American experience is much different to the white American experience.”
“Every single day you have a little bit of fear when your child is going out and they’re not in your control anymore.”
As respected as she is today, it wasn’t an easy ride to success for Regina. Like for so many of us, finding her inner voice and battling limiting thoughts were her biggest challenges. “When I was younger, I was guilty … of comparing myself to other people. I was doing a number on myself.” She told Glamour.
Thankfully, she managed to overcome these negative energies and boasts one of the most enviable portfolios in Hollywood. Her back catalogue includes Emmy award-winning performances in Seven Seconds and American Crime as well as roles in Jon Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Enemy of the State and Ray, to name a few. She has lent her voice to the animation The Boondocks and successfully turned her hand to be a director, taking on six episodes of Being Mary Jane and an episode of Insecure among many others.
“I’ve always felt the power of women and the power we possess as a collective. But I have to be honest and say my experiences have been a village of supportive people – men, women, different colours different ages”
You could say that self-belief and positivity are Regina’s real-life superpowers. She attributes this to how she was raised: “We grew up going to the church of religious science – not to be mistaken for Scientology – with the agape philosophy so you don’t speak about God in the masculine or feminine. Mind and spirit are aligned, fear and love are treated as equal energies and the difference is positive and negative.”
One of our favourite comments in her interview with Glamour is the recognition that her success has come through a village of support. She said: “I’ve always felt the power of women and the power we possess as a collective. But I have to be honest and say my experiences have been a village of supportive people – men, women, different colours different ages … To say as a 48-year-old Black woman that I’ve got so many opportunities and so much encouragement from white men as much as I have from women – is very interesting.”
Regina is a true inspiration, a superwoman, a loving mother, a cheerleader for herself and other Black women, an Oscar winner and so much more. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Regina but one thing we know for sure is that she’s going to continue to kick ass both on and off-screen!
Watchmen is on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.