11th Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards - Arrivals

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Regina King popped up in Italy over the weekend to attend the 5th edition of the Filming Italy Sardegna Festival-Awards Ceremony. It was her first red carpet appearance since her son Ian Alexander Jr.’s suicide in January.

The 51-year-old actress was originally scheduled to appear at last month’s Met Gala as one of the event’s co-chairs, but she eventually bowed out. The One Night In Miami director and fellow performer Naomie Harris were honored with the Filming Italy Sardegna Festival’s Women in Power prize.

King has kept a very low profile since her only son’s tragic death. But just before this Mother’s Day, photos were leaked of her transformation for her upcoming Netflix movie, Shirley. The biopic, which is reportedly now in post-production, will showcase the life of Shirley Chisolm, the late pioneering Black congresswoman from Brooklyn, NY. Chisolm also holds the distinction of the first Black woman to run for the office of President of the United States.

King’s surprise appearance at the Italian festival drew an outpouring of support from fans on social media. One person tweeted, “So good to see Regina again, sending her Love and Light.😍😊💗💗.” Another fan praised the actress for continuing to display strength despite the circumstances.

“I am still praying for her,” posted a third Twitter user

Ian Alexander Jr. was King’s only child, and the two always spoke highly of their close mother-son relationship. She and her son studied the Kabbalah together and even received matching tattoos on their forearms, translating to “unconditional love” in Aramaic.

“That mama bear thing where I’ll do anything for my child, I’m one of those moms,” she told USA TODAY in 2018 while promoting the critically acclaimed If Beale Street Could Talk. “I’ll give my right arm – and that’s my writing arm – for my child’s safety and so my child can advance and reach higher than I’ve ever reached.”