Damon Lindelof and Regina King discussed how their adaptation of Watchmen reimagined and re-contextualized the beloved graphic novel around ideas rooted in systemic racism as they accepted a Peabody Award for the HBO series.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Peabody Awards ceremony was canceled, so Lindelof and King recorded their acceptance speech from their respective homes. Despite the obvious resonance of their words with the recent protests over police brutality, systemic racism and the killings of unarmed black citizens, Lindelof and King reportedly filmed their speech before the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Watchmen series is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and its narrative ties the infamous 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre in the city’s Greenwood neighborhood — where white residents attacked black residents and businesses — to contemporary acts of racist violence. King, who starred in the show as Angela Abar/White Night, said, “This show not only evoked thought, conversation, but exposed history that had been forgotten — all while we were able to entertain.”
Lindelof added that Watchmen sought to reframe “a traditional superhero origin story borne not from the aftermath of an exploding fictional planet, but from the ashes of a very real place in Oklahoma that was erased from history 100 years ago. It is in the memory of the lost lives of Greenwood — not victims, but mothers and sons and fathers and daughters and doctors and lawyers and journalists and veterans — that we dedicate this award.”