Regina King: 17 to 25 year-olds are missing milestone moments, rites of passage

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Regina King is one of People Magazine’s four People of The Year covers. I’m sorry it took me so long to cover her, I wanted to watch her full interview on People TV instead of just relying on the writeup on their site. Regina is promoting One Night in Miami on Amazon Prime, which is based on the play of the same name featuring a fictional 1964 meeting with Malcolm X, Mohammed Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke talking about their roles in the civil rights movement. It’s out on December 25th. I’m excited for all the good movies coming this Christmas! I’m going to make a list of everything I want to watch!

I loved Regina’s interview with People because she got philosophical and introspective about the pandemic and about activism. It was fun to watch and I came away feeling like I knew her a little better. Here’s some of what she said.

What she’s looking forward to
I am most looking forward to being out of 2020. There’s been so many things that have happened, there’s been a lot of amazing things that have happened to me. I’ve had a lot of survivor’s guilt that has happened to me. ‘These great moments,’ but the world is on fire. I just want to be on the side of the healing. I’m looking forward to healing in 2021.

On being unapologetic
I am here and I am accepting it because of the wonderful artists that have inspired me… I am in this moment with my sisters, locking arms all the way from Julie Dash to Dee Rees. To tell a story and to be unapologetic while telling it. That word is actually a really positive word in a lot of ways. So often we, especially as women, we lead with ‘oh I’m sorry.’ Unapologetic is a good thing.

On being a mom to a 24 year-old son at this time
I’ve never felt just freaking useless as a parent. Probably a lot of parents can connect to this. Just for those 17 to 25 year-olds, it’s just especially tough for them. Watching them have to make sense of ‘how am I not supposed to do the things, make the mistakes’ that make you an amazing adult. I got a chance to go to prom. I got a chance to go to my graduation. That’s heartbreaking. Those little moments are rites of passage, your milestone moments. They’re gonna get through, but there’s a part of me that [is sad for them].

On her Grammys outfit featuring a t-shirt with Breonna Taylor on it
[I though] I have a platform, how can I not use this? How can I remind people that it’s so much bigger than just voting for the president? It’s so much more important to vote for those municipal positions that actually have something to do with your day-to-day life. What was happening with Breonna Taylor, I felt like ‘if I win this award, I will have the opportunity to visually show why it’s so important to vote down the ballot.’

This year, the most influential person to me has been Stacy Abrams. She really is a champion for American people and American rights. She just inspires me to want to speak up a little more. We have some huge elections coming up that will determine what Biden and Harris can do when they’re in office. It’s so important that people recognize that we cannot take our foot off the gas. We cannot become complacent. I hope people can start to think about voting as a way of life.

[From People TV]

I really like how she explained being unapologetic as a woman. I’m definitely going to try to bring that into my life more as I could relate to saying I’m sorry. It also resonated with me when she said she has survivor’s guilt. As someone who can work from home and who has a steady job, I feel guilty a lot. All I can do is share what I have.

I’ve thought so often about everything my son is missing by being stuck at home at age 16. He’s happy and resourceful, he Zooms with people every day and he plays video games with friends, but he’s not hanging out like so many of his friends. He shows me their IG stories and snapchats and it’s stressful to see a bunch of kids together like nothing has changed. The ones who care and who are staying home are paying the price.

Regina and her son in 2015 and 2005. Look how cute!
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photos credit: Avalon.red, Getty and via Twitter

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56 Responses to “Regina King: 17 to 25 year-olds are missing milestone moments, rites of passage”

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  1. Darla says:

    I love Regina. The first I ever saw of her was in The Big Bang Theory, where she has a recurring role as the University HR manager. She has really amazing timing. Of course, then I began seeing her in other things, and I had such affection for her from that show, I would watch her other stuff. She’s so talented.

    • Esmom says:

      She was really great in The Leftovers, too, which I feel like is a completely underrated series. She has a very compelling presence, imo.

      • Darla says:

        Ohh thank you for reminding me, I have never seen the leftovers, I am putting that on my watchlist for the holiday break. And yes, I agree, she does.

      • JEM says:

        I loved loved loved the Leftovers. And she was amazing in it – she’s amazing in everything!

    • Mumbles says:

      I loved her in 227 (loved that show) and even at her young age she kept up with the pros on that show.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yes! That’s the show were I started being a fans of hers.

        She was excellent in Southland years later too, and I’m so glad she’s reached such a fantastic place in her career.

      • M.A.F. says:

        Every time I see her, I am reminded of that show. I really did love it as a kid. I’m surprised more isn’t made of how she was a child actor who grew up to be well-balanced and have a successful career as an adult.

  2. Lanie says:

    Are they really missing these rites of passage tho? Seems like their super selfish parents keep hosting clandestine mask-less prom and homecoming super spreader events, then refusing to assist with contact tracing.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, that happened in my town. The principal of the high school ended up shutting down the few in-person school events that had been scheduled. You could tell he was ON FIRE mad at these parents for continually disregarding safety measures. It’s so scary, and as CB said, the kids who are staying home and trying to do the right thing are paying the price.

    • Katie says:

      exactly. they aren’t missing anything they didn’t want to miss. those who would’ve stayed home without many friends would still do that in normal circumstances and those who are more sociable are doing it any way today, with maybe a small scale down compared to normal. and while I must admit that I don’t have first-hand knowledge of this, I’ve read a discussion somewhere that the women who are approaching their low fertility years and are single have it the worst now and here I can share first-hand accounts of dozens of women I know who are in that category and they just continue meeting men and being social and going to parties, salons, hairdressers, cosmetic procedures, the gym, having vacations, the only thing they are missing out on is the audience of the rest of us now safely in isolation/social distancing/not giving a f-. anybody who really wants to is not missing out on much of anything.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Gotta say… while I know things are “relative”, my dad missed out HIS teen years in a Concentration Camp during the Holocaust. No parties, no “rites of passage”. He still went on to making a life after. Think of all the kids living IN the war zones now. THEY are “giving up” rites of passage, too. So did kids during the 1918 pandemic.

      Guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes, yeah…life hands you the doggie bag of poop, and you have to walk it until you can dump it. Is it “fair”? HELL NO. Do we have a choice? Sometimes, no, the choice is taken from us and we *have* to deal with it best we can.

      This is one of those times. I’d rather have a live kid, in the house, than a sick long hauler, or worse, dead.

      • lucy2 says:

        This. I do feel bad for the kids missing some big moments, and I’m sure it’s hard on them, and will probably be something they deal with for a long time, emotionally. But perspective, especially on what past generations have been through, is important.

        Most kids are safe at home, and with the internet still able to do a lot of things – school, talk to friends, entertainment. I really feel for the kids who are not in safe situations, who have food insecurity, and who don’t have access to things many other kids do.

      • Regina Falangie says:

        YAS!!!! Thank you OG Jan!!! We ALL have to adjust, we have no choice. Adapt or die.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      You know, at the beginning I was minimizing this but they ARE missing out. At least my son is. He’s 17. He’s missed out on his junior year of baseball (which he excels at and had a chance to make a name for himself this year), junior prom, and now that he’s a senior, he’s missing all that stuff. Not everyone is doing those clandestine events.

      Will they be ok? Yeah, of course. They will experience other things and hopefully come out stronger. Doesn’t make it any less of a loss for them.

      • Dee says:

        My 17 year old was almost in tears talking this afternoon with me about possibly losing her spring sport season (she’s signed a letter of intent to play at her university) and picking up her diploma via a drive-through ceremony like last year’s seniors did. I didn’t even mention prom, which she missed last spring as well. She’s worked very hard to earn good grades and excel at sports. I also feel terrible for the kids in theater and music who can’t perform for crowds as they are meant to do. None of these things is worth endangering someone’s life. However, these goals and experiences are important to these kids. They are missing out. As adults we need to remember that they have been working toward these events their entire short lives and we, as adults, have been holding out these achievements as important to study for, to strive for. To minimize them is wrong.

      • liz says:

        Same for my 16 year old. She’s an ice hockey goalie and a junior in high school. We got word this morning that her rink has shut down for at least a month. It’s fairly clear that her only option to play in college will be a a walk-on. She has a little film to show a coach, but without ice time, she’s going to lose ground.

        She’s working so hard to keep her grades up while going to school remotely. She hasn’t actually seen her school friends in months. They FaceTime, Zoom, play Among Us, etc. but it’s not the same as grabbing a pizza and having lunch together in the park near their school.

        In the long run, this is mostly just small stuff. But they are kids and to them, it’s important. And because the adults couldn’t behave responsibly, they are the ones getting screwed.

    • lucky says:

      I don’t know. I see all your points, but also, hard is hard and just because someone else had it harder isn’t a reason to not acknowledge that people are struggling with this. My mom was a nurse who worked with people dying of cancer and anything that I struggled with as a teen she would say, “welp, it isn’t life threatening.” She was right and I am sure I developed a healthy dose of reality and perspective… but… it isn’t a reason to minimize what someone else is going through. I work with young adults and I often find myself thinking, “uh! this isn’t that hard!,” but it is the hardest thing they have done so far and that itself makes it HARD. As they develop more and more nuanced coping strategies that will change.

      • AMA1977 says:

        It’s not a Pain Olympics. It doesn’t diminish a more painful or harrowing experience to have compassion and empathy for people who are going through a hard time right now. They are not finite resources.

        It’s sad to think that kids aren’t getting to do “regular” kid stuff. It’s sad when kids have a drive-through birthday party instead of a fun afternoon with friends and cake. It’s sad when high school seniors and college grads don’t get a celebration of their achievement. It’s sad when people have to postpone their wedding. I’m sad that my 13 year-old won’t have an orchestra concert this year, and that we will miss seeing family at the holidays. I will get over it, and it will not break me, but it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to acknowledge the sadness, and it is okay to be kind to people who are sad about whatever aspect of this bullsh!t pandemic has got them down.

    • Implicit says:

      Yes indeed they are missing everything junior and senior prom and graduation. My county has been on lockdown and complying but all over the country I see boomers and fend flouting the rules especially the red hats. Don’t throw the kids under the bus Or the majority of responsible parents.

  3. Astrid says:

    I get the sense that it’s the parents who are missing the milestones like prom and graduation, not the kids. I have two teenage boys at home, one graduated from high school last June. We had a different kind of ceremony and a different kind of celebration. It was still a special day. How many kids really think of a prom as the big event of their high school years?

    • Esmom says:

      I agree. On one of my kid’s university parent FB page, the parents are always SO MAD about their kids supposedly missing everything but it seems to me like the kids themselves are learning to adapt. And those parents are the same people who have loudly and obnoxiously denied and minimized the virus and demonized the governor (he’s in school in Michigan). It’s all about not wanting a single inconvenience or tiny disruption to their lives. It’s selfish af.

    • Alisha says:

      I don’t think kids really care about prom anymore. It it is more about homecoming now, or at least among my friend’s kid’s set, that was the big thing. They really did not care about prom and since it is at the end of the year and by then seniors are pretty much over it all anyway.

      But as a general rule, I think the parents care more about these things anyway. I see the parents freaking out on social media about the closures and e-learning but their kids are like “whatever, mom.”

    • helonearth says:

      In my home country, there is no graduation ceremony from secondary (high) school and the formal end of year dance was never as well attended as the informal ones.

      My friends with teenagers and young adults at home have said they aren’t bothered about these things, more that they just want to be able to go out.

    • Rocķy says:

      There are kids that care a lot. Especially girls. I have a son who didn’t care much about grad but cared a lot about his last year of high school sports. Any athletic kid has missed a year of sports at an important age. They have also missed being scouted for scholarships

      • sassafras says:

        Oh please. My kids are still playing sports and I know several families who have even moved to other states to keep playing. Besides, the universities KNOW the holes in their recruiting and are adjusting accordingly. The scouts aren’t even going out to games right now. The talented sporty kids will be just fine.

      • J says:

        My kids are a little younger, but all of my friends who have kids in that age group say the boys don’t care and the girls do (about things like prom, graduation, etc.)

        I have a 13-yr old and 9-yr old, and the 9-yr old is doing far worse than the 13-yr old. The 13-yr old has a phone and can text, call, and video her friends; the 9-yr old can’t. And in my area, school is 100% remote. The lack of social engagement is really hurting her mentally.

    • ME says:

      I never went to prom or graduation. I’m a perfectly fine adult ! It’s ridiculous to think prom and graduation will have some sort of lasting effect on a person. They don’t ! It’s literally just a dance and a walk across a stage. It’s better to stay safe right now. There will be plenty of parties, etc. in their futures.

    • Lanie says:

      The ones who don’t yet know that there’s more to come in life. But it’s not their fault. Everyone builds prom up like it’s a wedding and thee most important event eva!

      In reality, you stop thinking about prom shortly after graduation. The pictures get put away until you can send them to Ellen to show how embarrassing your prom fashions are.

      I think the kids wouldn’t feel as bad about missing high school milestones if their own parents were modeling responsibility and communicating the gravity of Covid-19.

      But some parents are shitty and living vicariously through their kids.

  4. FHMom says:

    I love her. Yes, It’s tough being a parent of high school/college age kids under these circumstances. Yes, they have missed graduation, prom, class trips, etc. They will get over it, though. We are living through hard times, just like other generations before us. What makes it rougher for us is that we aren’t used to sacrifice. Talk to anyone who lived through a war or depression. There are plenty of people really suffering these days. Missing prom isn’t suffering.

    • Katie says:

      so true. most of the people around the globe don’t have these experiences at all. missing out on some social events and ‘milestones’ isn’t even the worst things about having to social distance/isolate/quarantine…

  5. Paperclip says:

    Love her !!!!!!

  6. emmy says:

    It’s a very thoughtful take on the situation and I think once you pass 30 you forget how long a year is when you’re a teenager. I’m 36 and I’m thinking “It’s just a few more months if we’re lucky, get it together. Next summer will be here in a minute.” But at 16, a year was a lifetime.

    There is no alternative and kids will get through it. I missed some “lasts” with my dad this year and seeing him not being able to do the few things he could still do and loved doing was hard as f*ck. Maybe he wouldn’t have cared if the virus had cost him a few months if those months had been better. But he wasn’t going to risk infecting others. It’s worth it and kids aren’t dumb. They get it.

  7. TIFFANY says:

    The fact she did not even get a Emmy, let alone a nomination for Southland still bothers me to this day.

    And, the promotion for Best Director is gonna be awesome. Unapologetic indeed and I love her for it.

  8. Izzy says:

    The ones missing out on these rites of passage will likely get to miss out on another rite of passage during the pandemic: the funeral of a close family loved one. My cousin had been spending time with four friends during the pandemic, that was their extended bubble. They had dinner together the weekend before Thanksgiving, but one of them had just gone to a nightclub two days before – a club that was subsequently shut down for violating crowd restrictions. No, she didn’t mention THAT at dinner. Three days after they had dinner this friend was symptomatic enough to get tested, but didn’t tell my cousin or their other friends, so my cousin had lunch with his 83-year-old aunt the day that twit got tested. She told them two days after that, when her test came back positive. And so the pandemic continues raging.

    Sorry for the rant. I’m tired and frustrated, as we all are, and CB is one of my safe spaces free of Covidiots.

    • Christin says:

      This is why I think “bubbles” are mostly useless. It just takes one person not using good judgment for one slice of time, to keep the virus moving.

      My guess is that the twit knew he/she had messed up and was too selfish and cowardly to acknowledge it.

      • Amy Too says:

        I guess I don’t really get how a bubble works if people are seeing others outside of the bubble. I get how going to a nightclub is obviously outside the bubble. But was the aunt in the bubble? I thought bubbles were supposed to be closed. You see these people and no one else. Like everyone doesn’t get to have a friends bubble and then their own work bubble, and then their own household bubble, and then their gym bubble, and an extended family bubble, and a bridge club bubble. Especially if these are all maskless bubbles. Right?

  9. L0vee says:

    She can’t wait to be out of 2020… as if Covid is going to go away in 2021! Nothing is going to change the first half of 2021. We will be wearing masks all of 2021.

    • Esmom says:

      I think most people realize that Covid won’t go away in 2021 but I get the sentiment of wanting to put 2020 behind us, it’s really been a year like no other. And in 2021 at least we have more hope with the vaccine. Fewer unknowns make the new year something to look forward to, imo.

    • Christin says:

      That is what science and common sense suggests. This will not be sudden change – it will likely be very gradual. I’ve purchased extra masks because I know we’ll need them through at least 2021.

  10. Salmonpuff says:

    My daughter turns 18 today. I am sad for all she’s missing, and so is she. These are big moments to teens, and it didn’t to have to be this way. The hard part for teens isn’t the milestones though. It’s the loss of autonomy, the wild freedom of being a teenager.

    • Msmlnp says:

      I feel you. While grateful to be healthy and have financial security , my youngest child will have his 10th birthday without friends at home. All 3 of my kids had their birthdays, had school disrupted, and had their way of life change drastically. Yes it’s perspective, yes they are first world problems, but geez- it’s ok to have a small pity party about it too. It’s wrong to dismiss these kids feelings about this situation as irrelevant or small. I’m also tired of having to shine sh*t myself . We commiserate a bit and move along. It’s hard for everyone

  11. bgirl says:

    Let us ask the Kids from Syria what they are missing for years (just to name one example, I could name many other crisis hot spots). Bombs, no school, no University, no food, no plans you could make for the future, because many children or young adults don’t have a future there.
    Yes, its sad not to party on your 18th B-Day, but you can definitely rock your 19th, because the vaccine (s) is (are) on the way. I know, it has been a tough year for all of us. But, come on, folks, most of us have something to eat, a shelter, a TV and so on and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It sometimes makes me so angry that we make problems bigger than they are.

    • salmonpuff says:

      It’s not the sadness Olympics. Kids are allowed to be bummed about missing things they looked forward to. The teens I know are keeping it in perspective and understand that “suffering” through a pandemic where they have enough to eat and a Netflix account isn’t real suffering. They are well aware that there are teens living through horrific circumstances — in their own cities and around the world. They can hold that in their hearts along with their own disappointment about not experiencing milestones they had counted on experiencing, just like adults can be sad about missing Thanksgiving with family or brunch with friends and acknowledge that if that’s the worst we have to complain about, we’re doing OK.

      • MaryContrary says:

        Well put. My own teens and young adults are well aware of how fortunate they are compared to most. That doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to be sad at times that they’ve missed out on all kinds of things-including college graduation for my daughter. I think it does everyone’s mental and emotional health a total disservice to say they should not be sad or disappointed because other people have it worse. By that argument, none of us should ever be allowed to be sad because there are people out there with worse suffering.

      • bgirl says:

        It’s ok to be sad about missing things, absolutely ok to be sad. I miss going out to dinner with friends, I miss the sport weekends with my kids teams, so many things I miss… What I wanted to say is: Please don’t make a psychological crisis of everything you miss. Wearing a mask, keep social distance, wash your hands and stay at home is useful, helpful not to get sick or infect others. It’s just a small sacrifice compared to things other kids/young adults have to go through.

      • salmonpuff says:

        I’m certain you’re not trying to lecture me and just trying to make a point — that I agree with, btw — but nowhere did Regina King or I say it was a crisis. Just a bummer.

  12. Nina Simone says:

    Love Regina King! I’m so so happy to see her celebrated like this and get her due. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid. She’s versatile, committed and seems like a great person. Can’t say enough kind things about her. 🧡

  13. Bettyrose says:

    Maybe it’s generational but Pretty in Pink told me I wouldn’t be a functional adult if I didn’t go to prom, so I made sure to go. And I have worried about all the kids missing out on rites of passage right now, so it’s good to hear the kids are alright. (Funny that it’s the parents who are more upset. Probably my generation. Blame John Hughes for selling us a teen mythology!)

  14. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    This time will be just as nostalgic as any other time in a person’s history my god. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass. I hate my son doing school online. He sucks at it lol. But I’ve ordered my 2020 Christmas ornaments, and they’re funny and cute and sad and all of it. I can only imagine the entire scope of teen zoom activity this year. Scratch that, I don’t wanna imagine. Yearbooks will look different (oh nooos!). My son’s freshman year is nothing like a normal year of firsts’, but we’re not crying about it. We’ve gotten closer. He and his friends have gotten closer. The whole issue of society buried in tech has come full circle and we’re using it to be together. Everything is more. Words are more. Laughs are more. Emotion has returned to our collective eyes (half of us anyway). If we can embrace being alive, we better do it, and that’s what we’ll remember. And remember fondly (even with a heart pang).

    • sassafras says:

      Same here. It’s been a beautiful thing. I think in the future we’ll see movies about this pandemic that are similar to the art we see surrounding the depression – how it was a hard time, but a time where people could appreciate the true things in life; family, love, health, etc.

  15. MaryContrary says:

    My teens and young adults have been at home with us since March. And by home, I mean HOME. Two of them have been out a few times on socially distanced walks with a couple of friends, while my 16 year old hasn’t seen anyone “live.” They are afraid of getting covid and bringing it home to us-especially to my husband who is at higher risk. They see through social media and talking to their friends, that other young people are still out and about. They’re resilient kids, have each other, are not dramatic or whiny or complaining about having to “miss out.” But this isn’t normal-and I am sad for them that they’re not getting to do all of the things that they should be doing. Not proms, but just the basic stuff-dating, goofy times in the dorms, sleepovers for my younger kid. My daughter also says it makes her feel emotionally distanced from her friends when she sees that they’re not taking this as seriously as she is. This is a really difficult time in a bunch of different ways.

  16. sassafras says:

    Eh. Really? Pretty much the entire senior class at our high school has *opted* to do virtual learning this year. Sure, we could look at it as “how sad they’re missing their senior year” but we could also look at it as “wow, they got a chance to get off the hamster wheel, enjoy a year at home with their families and focus on who they want to be/ where they’re going next.” I know several seniors from last year who decided not to go to college they’d planned – or to do something completely different because Covid gave them that pause. This generation is being rebuilt, along with the rest of us, and maybe – hopefully? – we’re getting something better, a way of life that doesn’t over-emphasize status symbols and unimportant events.

  17. GrnieWnie says:

    It is sad for teenagers and young adults, especially only children who are physically isolated from peers. But people miss rites of passage for all kinds of reasons. I never attended my high school graduation or prom, or any high school event. Ever. I skipped it all and went straight to university, working and taking care of siblings along the way. Speaking from experience, no one really values those experiences when they’re pushing a kid into adulthood — or when a poor kid is shoved into a minimum wage job at age 16 to support their family and misses out on everything to do with high school life. I hope we all gain new perspective on the value of having shared social experiences with peers. I really hope Boomer parents pick up on this, because that’s the generation that tends to wave the value of these experiences away and promote that “get a job” mentality.

  18. kimberlu says:

    I’m a horrible person, I don’t care that kids are missing prom.