The actress Regina King just grew up right in front of my very eyes. She’s been a staple in our homes for the past 25 years, since her days on the hit show, “227.” She is now, perhaps unintentionally, positioning herself as a spokesperson for racial justice, inspiring tens of thousands of people in the process.
Regina’s recent lay down against those who give out Emmy Awards made a very important point about the fact that black actors and actresses are often overlooked for the more prestigious opportunities in Hollywood. In her open letter, King accurately notes that out of over 1,000 nominations given out by the Emmys, only 53 of them went to African Americans. This statistic is not unlike interesting disparities that exist in other walks of life throughout America.
King’s stance on this matter is inspiring for another important reason: She is one of the first Hollywood figures to take a meaningful public position on an issue that relates to race. Harry Belafonte and a few others have done the same, but the truth is that not since the 1960s have actors and athletes been willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves.
When I look throughout the NBA, I see a pile of powerful black men who are more concerned with becoming blinged-out puppets for those who control them than they are about fighting for thousands of black men who are unemployed and incarcerated. When I look at Hollywood, I notice women like Whoopi Goldberg being rewarded for defending every racist and child molester in town (Mel Gibson, Ted Danson and Roman Polanski). The idea that a black woman in Hollywood can take a stand for an issue that reflects that which is right and courageous gives me hope that we are not all willing to sell our souls in order to be in someone else’s movie.
Good job Regina, I am proud of you. I am also going to support you as much as possible, because I’m sure your words have gotten you into serious trouble. No one wants to hire the “bad negro,” and I truly appreciate your sacrifice. Perhaps through time, other iconic figures in Hollywood will come to your defense as quickly as they were out to defend Mel Gibson.