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Fresh off of sweeping last week’s NAACP Image Awards with three trophies (Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for “Scandal,” Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for “Django Unchained” and the President’s Award for exceptional public service), Kerry Washington is now delivering some serious scoop on her decision to take the lead role on the hit ABC drama.
Within her cover story for the aptly titled “Scandal Issue” of Ebony magazine, the 36-year-old surprised readers in admitting her large presence within President Barack Obama’s re-election would have cost her the chance of playing Olivia Pope, had the character of President Fitzgerald Grant been given to a black actor.
Washington stated: “I was a little concerned because [the character has] a scandalous relationship with the [occupant of the] White House. I thought, ‘If the president on the show is Black, I will not do the show.’ Because to me, it was too important a moment. I didn’t want to do anything that compromised my relationship with the [president] or that made it seem like I had an insider view on the Obama presidency [...] I thought that would be so disrespectful and so against all the work that I had done.”
While some may easily interpret her words as an insinuation that she was not in favor of playing opposite a black actor, we fully understand her comments as a sincere want to not blur the professional line in dealing with her role as an Obama advocate, and the ‘sometimes presidential mistress’ she would be playing on TV.