Regina King kicked off the Academy Awards with a nod to social justice movements, saying even as a Hollywood star, “no amount of fame or fortune” changes the fear a Black mother faces.
As King walked into Union Station carrying one of the iconic gold statuettes, colorful letters appeared over the screen reminiscent of the films that have come before.
King, who presented the first award of the night, tripped soon after she reached the stage in front of the reduced audience.
“Live TV!” she laughed, before remarking we’ve all had “quite a year.”
King went on to explain that if “things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” referencing the recent verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
“As a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with and no amount of fame or fortune changes that,” she said, before pivoting to say the evening was one of celebration.
“Our love of movies helped to get us through. It made us feel less isolated and connected us when we were apart,” she said.
King, as is customary during the COVID-19 era, had to explain the precautions taken. She said those watching at home could think of the evening as an “Oscars movie” set with a cast of more than 200 nominees.
“People have been vaxxed, tested, retested, socially distanced and we are following all of the rigorous protocols that got us back to work safely,” she said. “So, just like on a movie set, when we’re rolling, masks off, and when we’re not rolling, masks on.”
Regina King my beloved??pic.twitter.com/nQjJGiJ8aZ
— Lyng (@aboutlyng) April 26, 2021
Regina King: "I have to be honest: If things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots." https://t.co/PF9E3EDPpR #Oscars pic.twitter.com/W16RkGpiwD
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) April 26, 2021
— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) April 25, 2021
It’s not the first time the performer and “One Night in Miami” director has used an awards stage to draw attention to policy brutality or racial justice issues.
King accepted her Emmy Award last year for HBO’s “Watchmen” while wearing a shirt bearing the image of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed in her home by a trio of plainclothes Louisville, Ky., police officers.