"We are in more influential positions and are able to have a say in the stories that are told. I feel very lucky to be in business right now," she says.
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Washington knows a thing or two about being in business. She recently finished shooting the first season of "Scandal," written by fellow Black Women in Hollywood honoree Shonda Rhimes, and has three movies on the horizon -- including Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" co-starring Jamie Foxx. She'll also star in Tyler Perry's "We the Peeples."
However successful she may be, Washington is acutely aware that her success isn't always shared with her peers. She's one of few leading actresses starring in her own TV drama, and says she has been sincerely supported by other women of color.
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"I was floored by the outpouring of love from people who were excited that the show would even exist," she said, overwhelmed with emotion. "…And that we as a community would get to see ourselves in every home in America as accomplished, smart, empowered, sophisticated, vulnerable women."