She plays White House insider Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal, but Kerry Washington has actual ties to D.C.
Invited by the Democratic National Convention Committee, Washington gave a rousing speech at last night’s Convention, pointing to her favorite three words in the Constitution: “We the people.” ESSENCE.com caught up with Washington afterward to ask why she’s a part of the Obama reelection movement.
ESSENCE: How did this opportunity come about?
KERRY WASHINGTON: I was invited to speak and I didn’t know if it was going to work out schedule-wise because we’re in the middle of shooting Scandal. But the producers worked with me and moved some stuff around and that was fantastic. I got on the red-eye and I’m leaving at 7 a.m. this morning to go back to a full day of shooting.
ESSENCE: Your schedule is crazy, so why was it so important for you to be here?
WASHINGTON: We’re so blessed to live in a democracy where we get to choose our leadership. But our leaders don’t know how to lead unless we tell them how we feel and how we think. So many people have sacrificed so that you and I, especially as Black women, can have the ability to exercise our right to vote. It took women being arrested in petticoats and corsets and all throughout the Civil Rights movement, people risked and lost their lives while making sure they could exercise that right. So I just feel like it’s our responsibility to pay homage to the people who came before us and fulfill those responsibilities as American citizens.
ESSENCE: Why are you convinced that President Obama is the right choice?
WASHINGTON: We have so much on the line as Black women, and when you hear him talk you understand that he has a vested interest in the lives of women of color. Taking care of young people and women — these are issues that are close to his heart in an emotional and honest way.
ESSENCE: What will you be doing between now and Election Day?
WASHINGTON: You know, I had a great Father’s Day this year because my dad and I went to a bunch of cities in central Florida and hit the campaign trail together. So I imagine I’ll do more interviews and continue to encourage people between now and November to get out there and volunteer with your family. It’s an incredible bonding experience that really allows you to talk about and understand the issues.
Watch the new season of Scandal on ABC this fall.