Charlize Theron and Gabrielle Union paid tribute to actress and director Regina King during the 2020 Glamour Women of the Year film. The actresses praised King -- who was among this year's honorees -- for “changing the world."
The film was streamed online and hosted by GRAMMY-nominated duo, Chloe x Halle.
“She knows who she is and it comes through in her work,” said Theron, who has also previously been honored by Glamour. “The change brought to so many stories, but especially to those stories we don’t hear too often -- the stories of Black women. I’m so proud to know that I get to share those stories with my girls one day.”
“Regina, I am just so happy for you,” added Theron, who struggled to name just one of King’s standout roles. “You’re changing the world. I hope you know that.”
Actress and singer, Holly Robinson Peete, said King showed her that being a working mom was possible, while Gabrielle Union recalled how she was impacted by watching King on eighties sitcom, 277, as a teen.
“For me, the [role] that stands out the most was the one I needed the most, which was 227,” Union said. “Just playing a normal Black teenager when there weren’t normal Black teenagers on TV.”
“Watch her act, watch her direct -- she is teaching you a master class in how to not only survive in this business but to thrive,” Union also said. “She is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. I’m incredibly grateful for your friendship, your leadership, your sisterhood. I love you.”
King, 49, discussed her love for acting and how she transitioned to directing due to a desire to “work with the entire crew on a much deeper level.” She noted she had just embarked on her first theatrical feature, One Night in Miami, and declared that her “journey is just beginning.”
Other women honored at the event included Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, staff of Elmhurst Hospital (one of the hardest-hit facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic) and NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill.
“Anyone who’s seen Sherrilyn Ifill on television knows that she fights for the underdog,” musician John Legend said. “She inspires people, especially the team she leads at the LDF. She draws the very best talent to work for the cause. Sherrilyn carries a legacy of generations of civil rights activists on her shoulders. I’m so honored to have the chance to work with you, to know you and to witness the amazing work that you continue to do.”
Actor Ryan Reynolds also shared warm words about Ifill, who is the second woman to lead the LDF.
“Sherrilyn is funny -- not like funny for the leader of one of the most important organizations ever to defend democracy and advance the cause of civil rights funny, but like comedy circuit funny,” he said. “Like stand-up comedian level funny. I also know her well enough to know that she wishes I hadn’t said that.”
Ifill opened up about one of the most influential people in her work.
“The first really powerful Black woman who I saw who I thought, ‘I would really like to be like her,’ was Barbara Jordan during the Watergate hearings and she talked consistently, powerfully, about the Constitution,” Ifill said. “And, I carried that with me back to the Legal Defense Fund -- the understanding of communications as part of our job.”
“We are constantly in the business of explaining America to itself,” she continued. “And, just as today we continue to work on issues around education and housing and criminal justice, we are deeply engaged in issues of policing reform and representing protestors in Louisville and Philadelphia and other places around the country. So, we’re always working at those two levels.”
During the event, Olympic athletes including Lindsay Vonn and Simon Biles encouraged viewers to vote. The broadcast also featured a reading of a poem titled “For Breonna,” written by Camonghne Felix for Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police officers in her Louisville home in March.
See more on King below.