By: Amadi Taylor
Over the past several years we’ve seen Black women cheer for each other’s success louder and go harder for each other than anyone else. Regina King told ESSENCE that Black women in Hollywood – like in other industries – have created a strong support network, made up of group chats, random run-ins and other unspoken survival tactics.
“You know, we’ve cried together, shared secrets together, and because of that I feel we’ve been able to persevere and have careers that are in the double-digit,” she explained.
Regina named major page-turning names, from Tisha Campbell to Taraji P. Henson.
King said it helps to have a sister circle, especially when it comes to all of the auditions the women face for work.
“Tisha, Tichina [Arnold] and I, we used to go on auditions together when we were like 14, 15 years old,” the actress recalled. “If I was either flown out to New York or they were flown out here, we would all know that, ‘Oh okay, it’s serious, it’s down to the wire. Either it’s going to be them or me, you know?’ There are more of us now but, you know, when Tisha and Tichina and I started there weren’t. It was us.”
The circle isn’t just all work and no play. Many of the women connected the most outside of the workplace and created mutual respect for each other.
King is often in the mix of creating safe spaces in Hollywood and partnered up with Gillette Venus on their campaign, the Her Shot Campaign. The campaign focuses on 10 female directors, who are creating content highlighting the importance of a woman's gaze.
The actress said it was easy to sign onto the campaign, especially when looking at the dismal statistics of women in Hollywood. In a recent University of Southern California report that analyzed the top 1,000 films released between 2007 and 2016, only 4 percent of all films were directed by women.
King said it’s imperative that women help each other climb. In her own life, she credits director John Singleton, casting director Jaki Brown, producer John Wells, and Channing Dungey, the first black American president of ABC Entertainment Group.
“No one who’s in a position of success has gotten there without someone giving them a shot,” she explained. “It gives my heart joy because I can be part of creating that opportunity and that’s exciting to me.”