Regina Rene King is no stranger to most of us. She’s practically family. We watched her grow up on the big and small screens, cheering her on from the stoops of 227 to the Compton blocks of Boyz in the Hood. We adopted her as a sister, cousin, girlfriend (in our heads) and her real-life candor not only endears her to millions buts keeps her loyalists steadfast and true. Thankfully for her fans, three times is always the charm as King returns for a third season to star in the gritty, TNT crime-drama Southland as the diminutive and tough detective Lydia Adams, who patrols to eradicate the lawlessness of the streets. Blackenterprise.com shared a few stolen moments with the award-winning actress and mother to talk about the secret to her longevity, saving for a rainy day and why she’s leery about putting her personal business on Front Street.
Blackenterprise.com: Recently you and your former 227 costar Jackee Harry appeared on the Bravo’s What Happens Live! show to give your opinion on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and folks were shocked to see you cut loose. Who is the real Regina King?
Regina King: (Laughs) Yes, I think a lot of people think I’m uptight. Regina is a confident woman who loves her family and friends. But if you cross me you might get the Poetic Justice Regina, and if you’re nice you might get theYear of the Dog Regina.
(Laughs) We’ll be sure to stay on your nice side. It’s the third season of Southland. How has the show and your character evolved?
We picked up right where we left off, which is great because you’re always concerned about continuing to please your hardcore fan base as well as appealing to new viewers. The episode we’re shooting this week offers another insight into Lydia’s background and it ain’t pretty. I love that! Also the ratings increased 23 percent and we’ve also increased male viewership.
That growth is a testament to your star power. As one of the few Black actresses that has transcended race through your roles, what is the secret to your mainstream appeal?
It changes with time. When I was younger my unwillingness to compromise saved me from making choices that I might later regret. Then, I became a mother, which taught me patience and that has been a tremendous help in my career’s perseverance. It reinforced my belief that if you are truly committed to doing something and believe it will happen, it will happen in due time. Patience and obedience [to your craft] is key in this industry.
Indeed, and you credit that to helping you wait for the better roles after having been typecast as the devoted or no-nonsense girlfriend or wife in the past?
At one point I was stalled with only those types of roles and I could have continued the wife-roles because the offers were there; but I had to believe that the universe would provide another role if I turned one down. I also had to make sure that my finances were in place.