Regina King kicked off the 93rd annual Academy Awards on Sunday night with a comment about the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who murdered George Floyd.
“It has been quite a year and we are still smack dab in the middle of it,” she said. “I have to be honest: If things had come differently this past week in Minneapolis, I may have traded in my heels for marching boots.”
Chauvin — who was a Minneapolis police officer when he killed Floyd, a Black man, last May — was convicted Tuesday on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. He is set to be sentenced in about eight weeks.
Floyd’s death prompted nationwide protests and renewed fervor in fighting racial injustice in the U.S.
King acknowledged that celebrities often receive pushback when speaking out about politics or social issues, but the actor and director said it was still important to do so.
“I know that a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you,” she said. “But as the mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with. And no amount of fame or fortune changes that. OK? But, tonight, we are here to celebrate.”
King directed “One Night In Miami,” which is up for three awards this year: Leslie Odom Jr. has been nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and the film is also nominated in the Best Original Song and Best Adapted Screenplay categories.