Kerry Washington doing it big for Da Bronx
David Goodson | 3/9/2012, 3:37 p.m.
Quite as it's told, the Bronx is still doing it big. Aside from hip-hop, some great contributors to the arts and entertainment have originated from the borough.
In a relative short time, Kerry Washington has not only solidied her place in Bronx lore as a great performer, but the world celebrates her multiple gifts.
Having worked in leading lady roles opposite some of Hollywood's A-list actors--including Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Chris Rock and Jamie Foxx--her latest project, set to drop this Friday, "A Thousand Words," adds to an already impressive resume.
"It has a great cast. Ruby Dee is excellent, and with Eddie Murphy, you know it's a fun lm, but it also has a great
message. It's about the value and importance of communication. For Eddie's character, it was learning the value of listening as well as talking and also meaning what you say and saying what you mean, which I think is a good reminder to all of us," said Washington.
Blessed with stunning beauty, the newly minted spokesperson for L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company, still nds herself adjusting to that facet of her being. "It's a little surreal. I grew up in a household where the value was really placed on nurturing and cultivating your insides, your morals and intelligence, so it's funny to work in a business that places so much emphasis on the external.
I'm really glad that my parents were much more focused on developing me as a person." Internalizing and implementing such principles may pan out for Washington in historic fashion.
On Thursday, April 5 at 10 p.m., ABC debuts a new drama called "Scandal." The series-- created by Hollywood powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind the shows "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice"--has the making of a monster hit. Rhimes, however, had reservations about casting Washington as the star.
In the March edition of Essence, currently on stands, Shonda admitted, "I thought she was too pretty to be smart...Then she opened her mouth, and two seconds later, I was like, 'Oh, this girl's brilliant.'"
As the lead on a major network television show, Washington is carrying a torch that was last held by another Bronxite. "It's so exciting. There's been some great examples on cable, with Jada ['Hawthorne'] and Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose ['The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency'], but on network TV there hasn't been a woman of color as a lead since Diahann Carroll ['Julia'].
Every time I hear it and say it, it's unbelievable to me and I try to nd other examples, but it hasn't happened."
Continuing, Washington said, "We have an opportunity to vote with our remote controls. If people tune in to ABC on Thursday nights at 10 and the show is a success, the industry will have to acknowledge that they should be doing more inclusive casting.
I pray for the show's success because I want all of us to do more." If the show meets expectations, Washington's presence on the silver screen would be hindered, but she relishes the possibility of facing that dilemma.
"For a project of this caliber, with the level of writers and producers, I think it will be a joy. I never thought I'd love TV this much--or maybe it's just this pool of talent--but I'll gladly commit myself to other seasons. Plus I'll have some hiatuses where I can do a movie or get a play in and then get back to work."
The accomplishments of Jennifer Lopez and now Washington surely are inspiring young girls trekking on the 6 train with aspirations of Hollywood in their futures, to whom Kerry advises, "Get an education. My job as an actor is to tell stories about humanity, and what I found for me is the more I know about history, psychology, sociology and great literature, the more I'm able to do my job with all of my heart and mind.
And I'll also be more empowered about the choices I make." I'm out. Holla next week. 'Til then, enjoy the nightlife.