Watchmen: Regina King Talks Bringing Attention to Tulsa Race Massacre

Of all of the conversation-worthy moments coming from HBO and Damon Lindelof's Peabody Award-winning pseudo-sequel "remix" take on Alan Moore, David Gibbons, and John Higgins' comic book classic Watchmen, the series' recreation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and the destruction of Black Wall Street was not only impactful in ways unseen on television but it also exposed the whitewashing of history that's taken place to hide the atrocity. What it also did was educate viewers on that lost chapter in American history, and helped spark the movement encouraging people to educate themselves on this country's history that isn't included in the textbooks. With today marking 100 years since the slaughter, Academy Award winner and Watchmen star Regina King is discussing how the project helped open people's eyes to the truth, why Lindelof using it as a main thematic point in the series was important, and more.

Damon Lindelof and Regina King speak on Watchmen winning a Peabody Award (Image: HBO).
Damon Lindelof and Regina King speak on Watchmen winning a Peabody Award (Image: HBO).

Here's a look at King's interview with MSNBC's Tiffany Cross, followed by a look back at how the award-winning series approached bringing to life a part of American history that had been covered up for too long. Following that, a look back at the series' Peabody Award win, our reviews of the limited series, and more.

In the following clip, King, Lindelof, director/executive producer Nicole Kassell, and writer/executive story editor Cord Jefferson take viewers behind the scenes on how they approached recreating those horrific moments and the impact those scenes had:

In June 2020, HBO's award-winning series added a major award to its resume: a Peabody Award, with the series earning the honor for its "frank and provocative reflection on contemporary racialized violence, on the role of police, and on the consequences of a large-scale disaster on the way Americans understand their place in the world." Here's a look at what both Lindelof and King had to say about the Peabody Award win in their acceptance speeches, with Lindelof accepting on behalf of the entire team and "in the memory of the lost lives of Greenwood."

Peabody Awards Board of Jurors Citation: "When HBO announced a new "remix" of Watchmen, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins's classic work in the American superhero tradition, comic book fans were initially skeptical. Consider what viewers confront in the bold and original first episode: a pastiche of a silent film about a black sheriff, an intense re-enactment of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots, an all-black performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma, a vision of a future society where Robert Redford is president, and the lynching of a white cop. And Damon Lindelof's revolutionary series goes full throttle to the end.

Watchmen provides new answers to classic genre questions such as what it means to mask one's identity and who gets to be a superhero, but more than that, it offers a frank and provocative reflection on contemporary racialized violence, on the role of police, and on the consequences of a large-scale disaster on the way Americans understand their place in the world. For world-building and storytelling that fuses speculative fiction with historical and contemporary realities, Watchmen deserves a Peabody."

Bleeding Cool's Watchmen Reviews: A Look Back

Bleeding Cool praised how powerful the Nicole Kassell (Castle Rock)-directed series premiere "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice" was (review here), while "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship" kept the momentum going by deepening the conspiracies at play (review here). Jean Smart's Agent Laurie Blake took center stage in "She Was Killed by Space Junk", elevating the tension while serving as "devil's advocate" (review here).

"If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own" (review here), introduced us to Lady Trieu (Hong Chau), saw Angela (Regina King) look to Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) for help when things started hitting too close to home and revealed how Adrian (Jeremy Irons) "trains" new servants as his escape attempts continued We learned Wade Tillman aka Looking Glass' "origin story" (and possibly his final days) in "Little Fear of Lightning" (our review here), as Agent Blake places Angela under arrest but not before she goes "nostalgic".

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A scene from Watchmen (Image: HBO)

Angela comes to understand her true past and the truth about "This Extraordinary Being" Will (Louis Gossett Jr. – review here), a truth that starts with the formation of the Minutemen. "An Almost Religious Awe" (our review here) brought with it the major reveal that Dr. Manhattan has been with us the entire time, and he's a major part of the Seventh Kalvary's plan.

With the penultimate episode "A God Walks into Abar" (review here), we were offered a look back at the seeds of Angela and "Cal's" tragic (and apocalyptic) love story – the heart of our series. Which brought us to season/series finale "See How They Fly", where the machinations of the Seventh Kalvary, Sen. Keene, Lady Trieu, "Calhattan", Adrian, Angela, and Agent Laurie come to a head – as the world of Lindelof's Watchmen comes to an end… and to a beginning (review here). And since you're here…

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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