Fri | Aug 14, 2020

Kerry Washington’s Netflix drama sparks racism debate

Published:Tuesday | June 16, 2020 | 12:13 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington

New York:

Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Kerry Washington, whose mother is Jamaican, has expressed delight that her Netflix drama, American Son – a Broadway-to-screen adaptation of Christopher Demos-Brown’s play of the same name – is helping to start important dialogue on police violence and racism in America.

The film, which follows an interracial couple as they spend the night in a Miami police station awaiting news about their missing son, premièred on September 12, 2019. The resurgence in popularity of the movie comes amid the global Black Life Matters demonstrations of the May 25 lynching of George Floyd in Minnesota, whose death by four police officers has sparked worldwide protest and reckoning over racial injustice.

Washington, who earned two Primetime Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, an SAG nomination, and two NAACP Image Awards for her leading role in the ABC TV series Scandal, has been very vocal on her Instagram page. She shared in a post, “Just when we thought we had taken our final bow on American Son, the journey of this family has become more painful than ever.”

Speaking specifically about possible changes to police departments across the USA, the actress said, “We must put resources towards community-led solutions, not a system that continues to kill and put us in cages. I stand with the people on the ground across the nation ... #indefenceofblacklife #defundthepolice #blacklivesmatter.”

TAYLOR’S MURDER

She was also vocal about Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13, 2020.

“The officers – John Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove – who took part in her murder (Breonna Taylor) need to be charged and arrested NOW! My heart is with Breonna Taylor’s mother. Bring her family Justice,” she shared on an IG post that was viewed over 660 thousands times and generated just under 500 comments.

Last year,the Bronx-born actress, whose mother, Dr Valerie Washington, hails from St Elizabeth, Jamaica, proclaimed: “I am so proud to be Jamaican ... I bow down to my lineage, to my heritage, to my history, and to my belonging.” The comments came when she was honoured at Jamaica’s 57th Independence Black Tie Gala in Rye, New York. Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, who was a special guest at the event, extended an invitation to the actress to visit Jamaica for a family vacation.