Belfast Telegraph

Kerry Washington proud Scandal writers now willing to address race on show

Kerry Washington is constantly inspired by the careers of Jane Fonda, Cicely Tyson and Diahann Carroll.

Kerry Washington is proud of the Scandal writers for tackling themes of racial identity on the show.

Since 2012, the actress has been the star of Shonda Rhimes' ABC show, playing Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to politicians and power brokers in Washington D.C.

The sixth season of Scandal is now airing, and Kerry is pleased to see that her character has evolved in many ways.

"In the first season it was as if Olivia Pope was raceless. There was no denying that Olivia was a black woman, because I'm a black woman... But we didn't talk about her identity as a black person," she told Glamour magazine. "(Since then) the writers have become more and more willing to deal with race."

Kerry added that the season four plotline in which Olivia was kidnapped as part of character U.S. vice president Andrew Nichols' plan to start a war between America and West Angola, especially resonated with her.

"It was not lost on me that the fictional president of the United States (as played by Tony Goldwyn) was willing to go to war to save one black woman at a time when hundreds of black women were missing in Nigeria and we were begging the world to pay attention," shared Kerry, referring to the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping of 2014 by Boko Haram, an extremist organisation based in northeastern Nigeria. "Shonda (Rhimes) was saying, 'The life of a black woman matters.'"

Meanwhile, the 40-year-old star shares that she looks to artists such as Jane Fonda, Cicely Tyson, and Diahann Carroll, when seeking inspiration for her own career moves. Kerry cites the performers as paving the way for her generation to promote inclusivity and diversity within the media.

"My deepest desire is to create a world where there's room for all of us, where no matter who you are, you get to wake up in the morning and know that you are worthwhile and deserving," she said.

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