A lot has changed since Scandal first hit airwaves in 2012, making Kerry Washington the first Black woman to helm a network series in forty years. While Washington has continued to dazzle fans every Thursday night, she’s no longer the only sista in primetime.

Taraji P. Henson, Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry, Nicole Beharie, Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Angela Bassett now anchor hit shows, and it’s no longer special or exotic or revolutionary to see a Black female lead on TV.

With that in mind, Washington sat down with Yahoo Style to chat about her groundbreaking role as Olivia Pope and her character’s crisp wardrobe.

When asked if she ever thought Olivia Pope would be so influential, not only for women on television, but women of color in general, Washington said it’s exciting, but she’s glad the pressure to be the only Black woman on network TV is now gone.

“I love that it isn’t a part of the conversation anymore. We’re not really talking about how it’s rare to see a black woman on television anymore, because it’s all over the place,” she said. “Olivia Pope is surrounded by powerful, strong, amazing women on television and so maybe she can stop being a woman of color and be a human being.”

While it’s true, Olivia Pope has been joined on TV by several Black female characters in recent years, Black women are still very much underrepresented in primetime.

What do you think? Have we reached the point where Olivia Pope can stop being seen as a woman of color? 

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  • i mean

    I’m confused, isn’t this the Kerry Washington that claimed she wasn’t interested in a post-racial America? It sounds like she is now looking for roles that aren’t race specific for her (leading lady with non-black leading male). Babies are expensive I supposed.

    • binks

      I have a feeling she is trying to low-key get away from the Olivia Pope image. Scandal was groundbreaking a few years ago but with the way Olivia is being written I would necessarily prop her up either or want to be typecast by the character which I can see happening to Kerry. But I am going to need Kerry Washington to understand that you can be BOTH a woman of color and a human being, these two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Olivia Pope is a character who is a human being who is also a black woman so I am not getting her point. And I agree with the article, even though their are strives on television for black women and characters it still isn’t even a drop in the bucket as a turning tide.

  • Talented women of color on various shows should be seen as both women of color and as human beings simultaneously. Certainly, Blackness exists in humanity. I was born black and I will be black forever. We shouldn’t want to please others who hate us. We should desire to fulfill our dreams and aspirations. We want to use our perspectives and express our ideals while abhorring post-racial rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with seeing color. There is nothing wrong with black consciousness and the truth is that understanding our heritage (along with acknowledging the value of black contributions to the world in acting, science, mathematics, engineering, etc.) is not a detriment to societal progress. It is a guaranteed asset to human progress.