Thank you, Regina King. Beginning this year’s Oscars with King’s Best Supporting Actress win and acceptance speech was a bright spot in what has been a dark and daunting February. In a Black History Month that has been marred by politicians in blackface and alleged hate-crime scandals (and more wins for Green Book) seeing her take the stage in an angelic white dress I felt a surge of pride. Her win was a long time coming; if you ask me, she’s deserved it since Boyz n the Hood when she wore door-knocker earrings and box braids.
Tonight we saw other landmark wins for the black community. Only three women have won Oscars outside of the acting categories, and two of them happened tonight, at the 91st Academy Awards: Ruth E. Carter, who has dressed characters in Afrocentric looks for movies from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther, won her Oscar for Best Costume Design tonight, but she should have won years ago. Hannah Beachler is the first African-American winner to ever take home the award for Best Achievement in Production Design, also for Black Panther. And the inimitable director Spike Lee has been nominated for an Oscar five times and today he won his first, for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman — another long overdue award. It was emotional and important to me to see these firsts.
As King said onstage, this is what it looks like when support and love are poured into someone. These winners got what they deserved.