Dorothy Dandridge was a singer, dancer and actress from the 1930s through the 50s . She got into the show business alongside her sister Vivian. In the 50’s she scored the leading role in Carmen, in which she was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Award (The Oscars). Yes, Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman EVER to be nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in Gone with the Wind, and the first black woman to WIN that award; but Dorothy Dandridge was the first black woman to be nominated for a leading role. (Not knocking Ms. Hattie McDaniel)
Even though Dorothy didn’t win, she did set the standard that African American women can be nominated for a leading role. She even turned down a few roles that portrayed black people in a bad light. She declined roles such as slaves, savages and servants that were only offered to black people.
In 1954, Dorothy was featured on Life magazine AND she was the first BLACK woman to be on the cover.
Ms. Dandridge definitely set the bar when it came to roles during that time and she should be remembered as a trailblazer.
With this being Women’s History Month, I decided to dedicate a post someone who’s been on the screens since I could remember. Let’s take a moment to idolize and appreciate Ms. Regina King. She’s a prime example of “Started From The Bottom,” when it comes to film.
Let us start from the beginning. Her first starring role was “227” as Brenda Jenkins.
Then she went on to play a small role in Boyz N Da Hood in 1991, which was directed by John Singleton. This was/is a classic movie that she played a ghetto girl in 😂
Then in 1993, she co-starred with Janet Jackson, 2Pac and Joe Torry in another classic film directed by John Singleton titled Poetic Justice. Another ghetto role but she was entertaining to say the least. She was the real friend who keeps it real with you.
A third classic film that Regina King was part of was Friday, which was written by Ice Cube. This was just two years after Poetic Justice. She stayed pretty busy during the 1990s.
Regina switched back to the her tv role days and had recurring roles on shows such as “Leap of Faith,” “24,” “Southland” and “Shameless.” She got an even bigger role in “The Boondocks,” playing the voices of Huey and Riley from 2005-2014.
Regina had another recurring role in “American Crime” WHICH got her an Emmy!!
Another favorite of mine was the Netflix Original movie Seven Seconds. Regina played a mourning mom trying to solve her son’s hit and run case, which was caused by the New York Police Department. She had sleepless nights and even stalked the home of the guy involved. She did a stellar job, which landed her ANOTHER Emmy.
More recently, like weeks ago, Regina got her FIRST Oscar for her supporting role in the James Baldwin novel turned film, If Beale Street Could Talk. She played a mother who’s son was wrongly incarcerated for the rape of a white woman. She remained supportive and calm throughout the process even though it was stressful.
To say that Ms. Regina King has came a long way would be an understatement. So, we’ll just say SHE DID THAT!!
I’m happy for this beautiful black queen and I’m excited to see what else she brings to the movie screens and tv screens. What is your favorite Regina King movie or show?
This was the year the Oscars actually got it right, as far as wins go. I guess the Academy can retire that “Oscars So White” title for now. Black films and people are STILL making history. Just in case you missed it:
Regina King won for Best supporting actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Ruth Carter won for Best Costume Design for “Black Panther”
Hannah Beachler won for Best Production Design for “Black Panther”
Spike Lee Best won for Adapted Screen Play for “BlackKlansman”
Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor in “Green Book”
I feel that every movie that the above movies nominated, that won, were well-deserved. Spike Lee has been making movies for 30 years and he FINALLY got a Oscar. Regina King started off in movies like “Friday” and “Boyz N Tha Hood” and look where she is now. Mahershala Ali has been on FIRE 🔥 the past couple years from “Moonlight” to “Green Book.”
“Black Panther” alone has gotten Grammy nominations for its album to Golden Globe nominations to SAG award wins to now Oscar wins. Ryan Coogler, ALL the actors, everyone behind the scenes like Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler made that the film what it was and it shows!
I’m glad the Oscars got it right year, especially coming from having all their nominees being white (#OscarsSoWhite) to having black nominees in ALMOST every category. What are your thoughts on the award show?
Fact 4 of the month goes to Ms. Hattie McDaniel. She was the first black person and WOMAN at that, to win an Oscar Award in 1940, for her supporting role in the 1939 movie Gone With The Wind.
Hattie played a house servant in the film and was criticized for roles that she had taken playing stereotypical characters such as that. She had been attacked by the black community and even the media for accepting roles that perpetrated blacks in negative stereotype.
The topic got even more intense when the president of the NAACP at the time, Walter White, had pleaded with black actors telling them to stop accepting stereotypical roles because they are degrading the black community. Hattie spoke out saying that black people playing such character proved themselves as more than just measuring up to their employers.
She opened the door for black actors and actresses but even to this day SOME actors and actresses of color seem to only win Oscars for roles like a slave, servant, a dirty cop and even a poor, black, bitter, abusive mother. There are some positive roles that were recognized to get a Oscar BUT not many actors and actresses have been recognized for positive roles in movies. Check out my post are the #OscarWhiteout this year: