Watch Trailer: Regina King Plays First Black Congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm, In Netflix Biopic

Watch Trailer: Regina King Plays First Black Congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm, In Netflix Biopic

01/09/2024 11:30 AM EST by Niani

Regina King transforms into a trailblazing icon in the upcoming Netflix movie Shirley.

Today, Netflix released the trailer for Shirley which stars the Oscar-winning If Beale Street Could Talk actress. The biopic chronicles Shirley Chisholm's audacious, boundary-breaking 1972 presidential campaign. It will also draw on exclusive and extensive conversations with Chisholm’s family and friends.

Chisholm was elected to Congress in 1968, representing New York's 12th congressional district until 1983. 

Chisholm, who died at age 80 in 2005, faced an uphill battle at every turn. After winning her Congressional seat, the daughter of a Barbados-born maid and a Guyanese laborer “was greeted in Washington with cold shoulders rather than open arms,” according to her  obituary.

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Netflix first unveiled the project in December 2021. The film is written and directed by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), with King and her sister Reina King to serve as producers.

DIrector Ridley said at the time the idea of doing a movie about Shirley Chilsom came about through a casual conversation with King. “I first met Regina six, seven years ago when we were doing American Crime together. Our careers were in different places; Regina’s trajectory has always been pretty much straight up. But one of the topics that we were literally, truly, breaking bread, sitting down together trying to figure out our commonality, she brought up Shirley Chisholm.”

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"it was always a little disheartening for Reina and I to have so many people over the years of our lives not know who Shirley Chisholm was,” King said. “What she did was so pioneering. She was a true maverick and, you know, we use this term all the time, but she was a true first.”

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“Instead of trying to release it during any normal cycle, we thought, wouldn’t it be more impactful to release it during a presidential election year?” she explains. “As a team, we felt that is probably the best way we could possibly honor Shirley: to release her in a space that she created for herself.”