Don Cheadle, Kerry Washington talk race, activism, gender and Hollywood

Above, actors Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Don Cheadle (House of Lies) speak with Variety magazine.  The conversation includes the following exchange:

When people reference your race when describing your career, is that a point of pride, or is it something that you think is overplayed in the media as part of your story?

DC: I think I’m somewhat defined by my race for sure, and I’m good with that and I actually want that to be a part. … I think that should be fodder for our work — we should use all aspects of ourselves. I’m always trying to find a place where that’s actually an impact on what I’m doing as opposed to going, “Well, we’re all just people and we’re the same.”

KW: I agree. I think it’s relevant. I think gender is relevant. I bring something to the table as a woman; I bring something to the table as a woman of color. So I feel like, if it’s the only thing you focus on, then it’s a danger, and if you never talk about it then it’s a danger.

More excerpts here.

  • AW

    What a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation. I was especially struck by the comment about being able to say “No” to projects you don’t want to do (which is an internal strength that KW and DC both feel they have always had), but not having the financial/other power to be able to say “Yes” and definitively greenlight a project all by yourself.

  • Ms. A

    I watched this entire interview and I really liked it – it felt like they gave thoughtful and complex answers to the questions about the media and race. Maybe they felt more comfortable because they were both their and they’re gaining power in Hollywood. It felt like a rare discussion of the way that power works on Hollywood.