IFYOUBLINKED Woman Crush | ‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington Tackles Homophobia in Black Community

Kerry at this year's GLAAD Media Vanguard Awards.  Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Kerry at this year’s GLAAD Media Vanguard Awards.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Image

Just when you think Gaga has the LGBTQ community cornered, Olivia Pope..ahem Kerry Washington threw her white hat into the mix. Accepting the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award earlier this week, she took the opportunity to get some “stuff” off her chest in regards to gays, lesbians, trans… a whole crop of “others” consistently blackballed in media. The Scandal star demands more of them be brought to the forefront to have their stories told. Because without them expressing their journey “in front of and behind the camera” the palette of diversity is incomplete.

To say she had the crowd–including How to Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Ellen Degeneres, Portia DeRossi and Glee‘s Alex Newell aka Unique–on their feet is an understatement. K Dub had them eating out of the palm of her hand. And rightfully so. There are so many varying perspectives in the world in regards to sexual orientation, identity and race that are just now, like it’s 2015, people, being explored on the large and small screen.

Choosing Kerry Washington as this week’s Woman Crush was not only based upon her advocacy for LGBTQ rights, but also for her outspokenness when it comes to homophobia in the Black community. It’s a topic akin to airing out a family’s dirty laundry. You just don’t do it. But, Kerry did and I applaud her for doing so.

On Black people not accepting gay marriage:

The first thing that I say is please don’t let anybody get you to vote against your own best interests by feeding you messages of hate.

She continues:

And, you know, people use to say stuff like that about you and your love. And if we let the government legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?

Just to give background, Kerry has being fighting the LGBTQ and Race fight loooonnnng before she became a Shondaland darling. Two years ago she did Q&A with Advocate.com about her personal experiences in the gay community. She talked about growing up in a progressive household with gay and lesbian friends floating in and out. And working among the gay community in theater camps and mentoring workshops.

When asked if she came across closeted actors, this was her response:

Sure. I’ve actually talked with friends about the similarities between being closeted and the idea of passing in the black community. Those in the black community who could pass for white often did so to get more opportunities in life, but it came at such a great cost. When you buy into the cultural idea of what’s acceptable and unacceptable, you reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices. That wouldn’t work for me.

What does work is her need to speak out on Twitter–against anti-gay laws in Russia and support for marriage equality–to enforce change.

I urge you to watch her full GLAAD Media Award acceptance speech below. It will be worth your while.

‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington Gives the Gift of Reading

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As Kerry “It’s handled” Washington is blowing out the candles on her birthday cake (Happy 37th Birthday, Ms. Pope) today, she’s wishing every little boy or girl has a brand new book in their lap.

To exercise the each one teach one philosophy the boogie down Bronx native is working with First Book, a charity that provides new books to disadvantaged youngsters, for a birthday book drive.

“My birthday wish is that more kids can share the magic of storytelling. Wanna help me?” writes Kerry on First Book’s site. “For the next two weeks, From now until Valentine’s Day, show your LOVE and make a difference in the lives of children who need you.”

To join Kerry Washington’s virtual book drive–a fundraising page that goes toward new books for impoverished familie–click here.

So far the org has provided over 120 million new books to schools and programs in need.

To see how you can get involved in First Book’s literacy efforts, click here.

Kerry Washington Uses Fashion to Spotlight Domestic Abuse

kwpurpleNew York Fashion Week may be kaput, but “Scandal” star Kerry Washington introduced the hottest accessory for a woman’s safety. The purple purse.  The tasseled, chain-strapped purse was  designed by Olivia Pope  Kerry herself, and Vanna White debuted yesterday at Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge. Fashion aside, this purse carries a strong message for any woman or girl suffering financial abuse, a little known form of domestic abuse where a partner uses money to control a spouse’s freedom.

In light of the tsunami-sized public uproar over NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peters alleged physical abuse cases, now is as good a time as any to jumpstart a convo about a form of abuse that is very rarely talked about. To bring you up to speed, financial domestic abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships and is cited as the top reason for why victims stay in unhealthy  relationships, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

It starts by slowly pulling away a woman’s purse strings, until she’s financially trapped.

“When the victim finally realizes she wants to take back some control, she often can’t. That whole hashtag #WhyIStayed that happened last week, you saw how many of those responses were about feeling trapped financially,” Washington, the purple purse ambassador told The Huffington Post.

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The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge aims to take back the power stolen from these women by using the handbag (adorned the color of domestic abuse awareness) to be a topic of conversation. As well as a source of funds for charities advocating for domestic abuse victims.

So, here’s how it works, when you donate $10 or more, you will enter a daily drawing to win one of three purple purses Ms. Washington designed. There will be three winners every day. You can enter here and for those that prefer email: purplepurse@crowdrise.com with the subject line “Please enter me in the sweepstakes-Win a Purple Purse.” In the email include all your contact info. You have until October 3rd to enter.

So far the purple purse challenge has taken in over $500k in donations. I guess survivors of domestic abuse are in good hands….sorry, couldn’t help myself. To learn about other charitable pursuits the Allstate Foundation contributes to click here.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse and need help, know that you are not alone. Go to a safe place and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE for help, because no one deserves to be abused.