×

Regina King Wants All Children to Have a Chance at Higher Education

Long before she was an actress, Regina King dreamed of becoming a dentist.

“I’m all about the smile,” she says. “When I was a little girl, I used to try to not show my gums, but I love my smile now. If I’m happy, I’m happy; I can’t help it. I’ve got a big old smile.”

King has ample reason to grin these days, from claiming her third Emmy trophy last month to the boisterous reaction from the crowd in the Microsoft Theater (“I realized my family was much bigger than what I thought seven minutes before,” she says) to her forceful role in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which is generating awards buzz (“I did not realize how much we as a people — and I’m not saying as a black people; I’m saying as a human people — need a film like this”). Alongside a slate that’s overbooked with directing gigs — she’s become a go-to helmer for hits like “This Is Us” and “Insecure” — and her production deal with ABC Studios, she’s ecstatic about getting to play a superhero in Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen,” which was just picked up to series at HBO. “I have the opportunity to do things I don’t think anyone has ever seen me do as an actress,” she says. (Translation: She gets to “kick ass.”)

“You’re never supposed to stop dreaming,” she says. “Right now, I’m an actress, producer, director, not always in that order, but we’ll sit down five years from now and my title might have another hyphen in it.”

Given King’s sheer force of will, the odds couldn’t be more clearly in her favor. It’s been more than 30 years since she made her Hollywood debut on the NBC sitcom “227,” and she’s barely stopped working since. “I learned how to be a professional and the importance of positive self-representation at a very early age,” she says.

That’s why she’s made it a priority to work with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles, which provides academic and financial aid to help children from low-income communities pursue higher education.

“I am doing what God meant for us all to do,” says King, whose efforts include serving as a public advocate for the charity and also actively fundraising. “You have to put your money where your mouth is. If you believe in the future, it starts with fertilizing those babies, those seeds.”

She proudly traces her commitment to philanthropy through her family tree: She recently starred in an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” and learned that her great-great-great-grandfather was a preacher who dedicated his life to teaching uneducated black men and women. It’s a lesson she hopes to pass along to her son.

“I’m a big person about energy: The energy you put out, that’s what comes back,” she says. “Be the change you wish to see.”

For a full Q&A with Regina King, click here. 

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content