Kerry Washington and Denzel Washington are the latest black thespians to share their thoughts on the struggles of being black and in Hollywood. Kerry sat down with Elle Magazine and discussed what it means to be a black actress.
According to her, black women aren’t suited to be damsels in distress. “Look I can see how it’s not particularly feminist to play the princess in the tower, waiting to be saved. But as a black woman – we’ve never been afforded that luxury,” she remarked. “There was no man coming to save you; it wasn’t part of the story. In some ways, this telling is a statement of empowerment.”
Kerry also discussed portraying Olivia Pope in Scandal and her upcoming part as a Broomhilda, a slave woman, in Django: Unchained. “She’s phenomenally successful, able to control her world and makes things happen with clarity and force in her profession,” she said of Pope.”
“Without Olivia as my day job, I don’t know if I would have been able to play Broomhilda. She has strength I knew nothing about. Tarantino is a director who’s not intimidated by blood and gore and violence and the darker side of the human soul.”
Kerry isn’t the only Washington that talked about being a black actor. Denzel Washington talked to the “Hollywood Reporter” and shared the advice he gave to his daughter about breaking into the industry.
“You’re black, you’re a woman, and you’re dark-skinned at that. So you have to be a triple/quadruple threat,” he said in the publication. “I said: ‘You gotta learn how to act. You gotta learn how to dance, sing, move onstage.’ That’s the only place, in my humble opinion, you really learn how to act.
“I said: ‘Look at Viola Davis. That’s who you want to be. Forget about the little pretty girls; if you’re relying on that, when you hit 40, you’re out the door. You better have some chops.’”