Regina King Talks Channeling Shirley Chisholm’s Resilience In The Netflix Film, ‘Shirley’

Regina King and Terrence Howard in Netflix's "Shirley"

Source: Courtesy of Netflix / Netflix

Regina King channels the tenacity and resilience of political leader Shirley Chisholm in Netflix’s latest film, Shirley. The film explores Chisholm’s cumbersome journey as the first Black woman presidential candidate, highlighting America’s apprehension of women in power. 

The film begins in 1968 when Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district. Chisholm’s authenticity helped her navigate predominantly White spaces. Shrinking to make others comfortable was never an option; she carried that attitude throughout her campaign.

“Shirley is just an example of resilience,” King tells me in an exclusive interview. “In every turn, everything that we learned, it was just a reminder and being a strategist, and using that resilience and strategic mind to navigate.”

Regina King in Netflix's "Shirley"

Source: Courtesy of Netflix / Netflix

King produced Shirley alongside her sister, Reina King, who plays Chisholm’s sister in the film. Before Hilary Clinton was Shirley Chisholm, and when the siblings noticed that most people weren’t familiar with the political leader, they sourced a team of writers to help bring their vision to life. The project was 15 years in the making, finally reaching its full-circle moment.

I sat down with Regina King, Reina King, and Terrence Howard to discuss Chisholm’s influence on her through the film, the importance of basic human equality, and the lack of progression from 1972 to today.

Chisholm inspired an entire generation, and she will continue to do so through King’s performance. Shirley airs on Netflix March 22. In the meantime, check out my exclusive interview with Regina King, Reina King, and Terrence Howard.


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