Best Of 2019

Best Actresses Who Are Representing Cincinnati in Hollywood: KiKi Layne and Regina King

The Barry Jenkins-directed If Beale Street Could Talk — based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name — is vibrant, poetic and moving with lush colors that meld with each flare of emotion. It explores black love in 1970s Harlem, where Tish is engaged to Fonny, an artist whom she’s been friends with since childhood. She becomes pregnant, but their plans of a life together are derailed when her fiancé is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Jenkins knows how to compose characters within a frame. Every color, slant of light, music choice and angle feels carefully orchestrated to evoke the feeling needed. Plus, two actresses in the film have Cincinnati ties: 26-year-old KiKi Layne, who plays Tish, was raised here and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts in 2009. “I think for a long time Hollywood — and media overall — presented it as if there was only one way to talk about the black experience, so I’m definitely very thankful to be at a time in Hollywood where all of that is being challenged,” Layne told CityBeat of her role in the film. And Regina King, as Tish’s mother, won both a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role. Born in Cincinnati, King’s family later moved to L.A., but she still has family ties here. It’s safe to say that these two have made the Queen City proud.