Black History Month Highlights – Kerry Washington

We're highlighting on this day in Black History Month the incredibly talented actress, filmmaker, and activist Kerry Washington.

By Chuck Walton

Kerry Washington in "Lakeview Terrace."

©Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection

She's known as an immensely talented and beautiful actress on the big screen and small, and works behind the camera as well. She's an Emmy winner and currently nominated for a SAG Award. Our Black History Month highlighted icon today is Kerry Washington.

How You Know Her

Movie fans will know her from the current musical comedy drama "The Prom," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls," alongside Jamie Foxx in "Ray," and as the wife of Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," as well as countless more big creen projects.

(c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

TV fans will know her best as crisis manager with her own firm Oliva Pope in the popular series "Scandal," for which she was nominated for multiple Emmys. She's also been nominated for an Emmy and a current SAG Award for the show "Little Flies Everywhere" with Reese Witherspoon, where both play mothers from different backgrounds living in an Ohio suburb in the late '90s. She also had acclaimed runs on the series "Boston Legal" and an earlier animated version of Marvel's "Black Panther."

Their Life So Far

Washington grew up in The Bronx and was involved in theater as a youth. She is of African American, English, Scottish, Native American and Caribbean descent, and is a cousin of Colin Powell on her mother's side. She attended George Washington University and graduated with degrees in sociology and anthropology, and then studied theater at Michael Howard Studios in New York City. She also learned dance from none other than Jennifer Lopez before J-Lo left New York to become a dancer on "In Living Color" in Los Angeles.

After small parts in the '90s, Washington earned a role as Chris Rock's love interest in the 2002 spy thriller "Bad Company," and then a lead part in Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" in 2004. Throughout the '00s, she continued to make an impression in films like "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Like a Man" and "The Last King of Scotland." At the same time, she kept busy with several tv series including multiple episodes of "Boston Legal."

By the 2010s, Washington was appearing in Tyler Perry's ensemble drama "For Colored Girls" about the struggles of ten African American women, and again with her "Ray" co-star in Quentin Tarantino's blistering western slave drama "Django Unchained." In 2012, she took on the role of Olivia Pope, which would draw lots of acclaim over 7 seasons and 124 episodes. After the show ended in 2018, she kept busy behind the scenes, directing an episode of Showtime's "SMILF" and executive producing "The Fight," a documentary about ACLU lawyers' fight against Trump.

Her latest role onscreen was playing the head of the PTA in Ryan Murphy's hit movie "The Prom," also featuring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, and Keegan-Michael Key.

The Movie to Watch

It's an explosive film and it's a tough, great performance from Kerry Washington in Quentin Tarantino's fiery western "Django Unchained." Jamie Foxx as freed slave Django sets out on an epic journey in the film to reunite with his love, Kerry Washington as the still-enslaved Broomhilda "Hildi" von Shaft. Leonardo DiCaprio is especially despicable here as the slave owner Calvin J. Candie. But he'll eventually face his comeuppance in this cinematic fireball that's at turns dramatic, funny, and highly watchable.

©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

Django Unchained

Western / 2012

Two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on a mission to capture the vicious Brittle brothers. Their mission successful, Schultz frees Django, and together they hunt the South's most-wanted criminals. Their travels take them to the infamous plantation of shady Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), where Django's long-lost wife (Kerry Washington) is still a slave.

What's Up Next

Washington is currently filming "The School for Good and Evil" from director Paul Feig and based on a Soman Chaiani fantasy novel and series about two girls whisked away to the School for Good and Evil. Washington will play the part of Professor Clarissa Dovey. Look for it out on Netflix in 2022.

More Black History Month Highlights:

-Feb. 1 – Regina King

-Feb. 2 – Michael B. Jordan

-Feb. 3 - Idris Elba

-Feb. 4 - Octavia Spencer

-Feb. 5 - Ryan Coogler

-Feb. 6 - Zoe Saldana

-Feb. 7 - Forest Whitaker

-Feb. 8 - Halle Berry

-Feb. 9 - Jordan Peele

-Feb. 10 - Zendaya

-Feb. 11 - Denzel Washington

-Feb. 12 - Viola Davis

-Feb. 13 - Chiwetel Ejiofor

-Feb. 14 - Tyler Perry

-Feb. 15 - John Boyega

-Feb. 16 - Daniel Kaluuya

-Feb. 17 - Danny Glover

-Feb. 18 - Zoe Kravitz

-Feb. 19 - Chadwick Boseman

-Feb. 20 - Spike Lee

-Feb. 21 - Taraji P. Henson

-Feb. 22 - Kerry Washington

-Feb. 23 - Barry Jenkins

-Feb. 24 - Eddie Murphy

-Feb. 25 - Will Smith

-Feb. 26 - Ava DuVernay

-Feb. 27 - Angela Bassett

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