Regina King Talks Being a Woman of Substance On and Off Screen

January 31, 2012  |  

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Regina King on the big screen, but she’s been far from off the Hollywood radar. For the past three seasons she’s had a starring role on the TNT drama “Southland,” and after 30 years of acting, she said she still can’t believe she’s one of few black actresses to have a lead role in an hour-long drama.

“I’m just really thankful to have the chance to portray a character you don’t see every day,’’ Regina told the Daily Beast. “I have women come up to me all the time and say that exact thing to me. They say they love my character and how she is a real woman with a real career that they believe. People love to see themselves on screen in a way that makes sense and seems on point.”

From her role as Brenda on “227,” to Ice Cube’s girl on “Boyz N’ the Hood,” to the loving wife in Jerry McGuire,” and one of Ray Charles’s mistresses, no two roles have been the same for Regina, and that’s how she likes it.

“I’ve tried to be flexible in my career by doing a little bit of everything and that’s worked for me. It’s incredibly hard out there for women of color. That’s why I do love being a woman of substance on “Southland.” Someone who isn’t a caricature and isn’t a stereotype. But remember she wasn’t written as a black character and that makes a big difference in how she can be portrayed.”

Regina makes an effort to be a woman of substance off camera as well, keeping her personal life, particularly her relationship with Malcolm Jamal Warner, under wraps.

“I have to keep something for me and that has to be my personal relationships. Neither one of us is out there talking about it and we won’t be. It’s important to keep what we have between us. I respect others who do it differently, but that’s just not for me.”

And that’s why we love her. Do you watch Southland? What’s your favorite Regina King character?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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