Kerry Washington & Don Cheadle Dish On Race In Hollywood--The GOOD & The BAD
Kerry Washington & Don Cheadle, two of our absolute faves, are gearing up for the Primetime Emmys. And they had a very interesting discussion with Variety as part of their Primetime Emmy series.
Check out what the top YBF actors have to say about how their race in Hollywood has affected their success--and it's not all bad.
These two smarties always seem to always pick the very best roles in Hollywood. But as Don Cheadle (star of "House of Lies" and Iron Man 3) explained, it's not always totally their choice. Check out what he and "Scandal"/Django Unchained star Kerry have to say about how race has helped them get tot he top of the Hollywood mountain.
On being defined by your race in Hollywood
Don: I think I'm somewhat defined by my race for sure. And I'm good with that. I actually want that to be a part of the storyline. I don't believe in colorblind casting. It should be fodder for your work and we should use all aspects of ourselves. I find a place where that can have an impact on my work. As opposed to us saying, 'Oh we're all the same'.
On comparing racism to sexism in Hollywood
Don: Well, sexism...I'm loving it. Being named a sex symbol. Getting pinched on the butt cheeks at this age? Yeah. (Laughs) But it's definitely not the same thing for [Kerry].
Kerry: I've been able to do things as a woman in this business I wouldn't have the opportunity to do as a man. Just like with Ray, I wouldn't have been able to play Ray Charles' wife if I wasn't a black woman. So, it sometimes makes things more challenging, but it also has allowed for unique experiences like Hotel Rwanda and Ray and Last King, roles that really use our gender and our race.
On lack of opportunities for people of color in Hollywood
Don: It depends on when you ask the question. If this was 1971, there would be tons of opportunities for black people in movies. Not sure if you would want to be in all of them, but you would be like yeah, I've got 5 auditions today. Then that went away and there was a resurgence of other blaxsploitation films with the gangster films like Boyz In The Hood, Menace II Society and Dead Presidents--movies with black heroes and anti heros. At that time, there was a lot of work.
But where we are right now, there's not enough for anybody. So the people who are already marginalized (people of color) are going to have even less.
On how their tv roles have helped promote "crossover"
Kerry: The woman who runs my digital social media came up with this idea when I was on the cover of Ebony--a contest for followers to take a pic of themselves with me on the cover of EBONY magazine. And the most creative we would send the an autographed copy. It was a neat way to engage followers on line. It was so moving because you had all these pictures of white women going to buy EBONY magazine or Latin women and people overseas going into international magazine stores. Suddenly, because of the power of the TV show, people were crossing over into racial categories and social interests they never would have before. These people wouldn't normally even purchase this magazine.
Here's the full 30-minute talk where the actors have some fun talking about the ins and out sof Hollywood, how life (a black President and acceptance of the GLBT community in society) has imitated art and more: