WEEK IN WOMEN: Regina King to Portray Shirley Chisholm – Brandy McDonnell reports

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Even as she’s building Oscar buzz for her directorial debut One Night in Miami, Regina King is lining up another big starring role in front of the camera.

The Academy Award-winning performer (If Beale Street Could Talk) will portray trailblazing politician Shirley Chisholm — America’s first Black congresswoman — in the upcoming biopic Shirley.

The film will be produced by Participant and is expected to begin production later this year.

Written and directed by Oscar winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, Jimi: All Is by My Side), the biopic will chronicle Chisholm’s trailblazing 1972 presidential campaign. Although discrimination dogged her quest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination — she was blocked from participating in televised primary debates and was allowed to make just one speech, and only after taking legal action — many students, women and minorities followed her “Chisholm Trail.”

Chisholm became in 1968 the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1972, she became the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties.

Ridley and King previously worked together on the television series American Crime. King twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie for that project.

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.