Why Is ‘Scandal’ Making History? It’s All Thanks To Kerry Washington!


Women who make history in any industry will hopefully one day become the norm, but in the meantime we love celebrating and talking about these exciting achievements!

This time it is Kerry Washington in ABC’s ‘Scandal’. She is nominated for an Emmy in the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ category, and she is also now the first African-American to be nominated since Cicely Tyson was honored for “Sweet Justice” in 1995. Washington is the first African-American actress to lead an American network drama series since 1974.

Has it really been that long? And why? Thank goodness for talented actresses and networks whose attitudes are shifting to the way they view women and different ethnicities.

She told The Wrap how honored she was to be nominated in such a historical way, and how extraordinary it is that it took this long for another woman of color to make history.

Kerry also expresses the significance of this nomination. ”

“Rather than comment specifically on the Emmy nomination, I’ll say I’m really proud to live in world where a show that has a woman of color as its lead character can be a success,” she said.

“I’m proud to be in a show that really champions inclusivity, because our show values diversity not just in terms of race but in terms of ethnicity, in terms of sexual orientation, in terms of age, in terms of gender. You look at the lead characters on the show, and the majority of them belong to a minority group.”

“I know how phenomenally blessed I am right now,” she added. “So I’m along for the ride. I’m loving every minute of it and feeling very grateful.”

So why are milestones for women of color so few and far between in television in America? There are so many opinions, both good and bad. The fact is, that more women are breaking through and setting new records and not being held back by the social or cultural norms.

Ethiopian supermodel and wife of David Bowie, Iman reflects on the race issue in a recent online issue of Net-a-porter’s The Edit magazine. They asked her if being a person of color affects her decisions to be more or less visible, part of the mantle of being a ‘role model’.


“I think it is easier for people to understand successful people of color now. It’s very mainstream; it’s not unusual. I’m not constantly in the papers but I think that works for me. It’s given me longevity,” she says.

Remember, the 60 year old millionaire model mogul, who has her own line of IMAN cosmetics, started her career during the 90s when being a woman of color or any ethnicity other than caucasian meant breaking a huge long-standing mold.

But it’s these women who have remarkable backgrounds who are the ones that have the strength to become pioneers. Iman is the daughter of a gynecologist and the Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and speaks five languages. Kerry Washington’s mother is a college professor, her father a real estate broker, did a double major in anthropology and sociology at George Washington University, then went to live in India for a year. If her acting career didn’t pan out as she hoped, she says she would’ve gone to law school.

So both of these high profile celebrities who come from completely different backgrounds to their own professions are now somehow game-changers in their industries. Why? Is it because they came from a privileged upbringing? Sure that probably would’ve had a lot to do with it, had they become political ambassadors or lawyers or teachers.
But they didn’t. They decided to go against, the grain, take a leap of faith and do something different. Was it scary and risky? No doubt! But that’s what is most rewarding. Being passionate, believing in your ability to accomplish something greater than just the expectations forced on you since birth is what life is all about.

SCANDAL Kerry Washington



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