Washington said that the success of shows like Empire and Scandal prove that yes, Black actors and actresses can lead a primetime show to success.
Kerry Washington is the latest star to speak out on the dire need for diversity in a whitewashed Hollywood.
The Huffington Post reports that the Scandal actress opened up to AOL recently opened up about the hoopla that surrounded her stepping into the shoes of Olivia Pope—a Black female lead on primetime television.
"It was a lot of attention when we first aired about the idea that there hadn't been a Black woman in the lead on a network drama in almost 40 years," she said. "So imagine giving all of these Black actresses in Hollywood this opportunity, this script of like, 'You could be the lead on the show. Something that has never happened in your lifetime. Go."
And Washington went. She "shocked" critics and networks who were unsure of whether a Black lead could carry a nighttime drama. Since Scandal's success, networks have taken note.
"Turns out you can have an actress who wins an Emmy: Viola Davis," she said. "Turns out you can have the hottest juggernaut of a show on the planet: Empire. Turns out it's not a risk. If you let us in the door, we can get the job done."