Former “Scandal” star Kerry Washington doesn’t believe her children will be immune from racial profiling or police brutality just because she’s a celebrity.
“It doesn’t matter how famous you are or how famous your husband is, you know that when those people in positions of authority with deadly weapons on their hip, when they see a young black kid with a hoodie walking down the street, they don’t know who that kid belongs to,” the star and producer of the new film “American Son” told TheWrap editor in chief Sharon Waxman at the Toronto Film Festival. “And they don’t care until, maybe, they’re told. But who knows if they’ll have the chance to tell.”
Adapted from Washington’s acclaimed Broadway play, “American Son” tells the story of interracial parents (Washington and Steven Pasquale), who reunite in a South Florida police station seeking answers when their teenage goes missing. The story of a mother struggling for the truth was one that resonated deeply with Washington, who has a son and daughter of her own.
“In my seven seasons of ‘Scandal,’ it was such a tremendously blessed journey where I got to meet myself in a lot of places, but exploring themes of my motherhood was not one of them because Olivia chose not to be a mom,” Washington said, adding that she’s been embracing motherly roles with both “American Son” and the upcoming Hulu miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere.”
Washington, who also produced “American Son” along with Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union, believes that her character, Kendra, is the latest one to teach the actress something about herself.
“I’m trying to be of service to other people, but there is a selfish part of it that’s like, ‘Oh, this character has come into my life because there is something that I need to work through,’ and if I can have the courage to meet the material where it is and work through it, then I will allow my audience, the people that come to it, to see a truth and learn something about themselves,” she said.
Watch more from the conversation with Washington above.