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We Don’t Need Olivia Pope: Kerry Washington Challenges Us to Stand Up to Trump

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There’s a running myth on social media that Black folks can’t discuss heavier issues while also being entertained. In reality, we can do both. We can excel in, and enjoy, the arts while simultaneously working to build up our communities and move forward in the Trump Era.

Need proof? Enter Scandal star Kerry Washington at last weekend’s Women’s March.

Anytime a Black person starts a conversation off with, “Let me get something off my chest,” you know it’s about to get real, and that’s what happened with Washington. Whatever you’re opinion about the march over the past weekend may be, the actress and advocate took her platform very seriously.

As she began her speech, Washington described the morning after the election when she noticed two misplaced words trending on social media: Olivia Pope.

As we all came to terms with the reality that Trump would become the leader of the free world, people took to the Internet to express their hurt, anger, frustration and weariness. Many cried for Olivia Pope to come and fix the political mess in the same way she does every Thursday night. But quite frankly, it was a sight Washington was not pleased to see.

“We are in this situation because people thought a character from television could fix our sh*t,” she said plainly during the march. “This is not about Olivia Pope. This is not about anybody saving you. This is about YOU and ME standing up for our democracy.”

The actress continued: “This is our country. We can not forget that. Anybody that’s working in Washington, they work for YOU. And it’s time that we work for ourselves.”

While many of us have shared our fears about what this administration will do next, the star reminded us that now is not the time shrink away from the fight.

“On that election morning when I woke up and I got scared that people were wanting a mythical creature on television who wears white suits to save them, I felt alone,” she told the crowd. “And I have to remember in these moments, that when I am alone and scared, I am not. We have to remember that we have each other. You have to ask yourself, ‘What else can I do?’ Being here is the beginning, but we all have to continue to ask ourselves, ‘What’s next?'”

Watch the full video, captured by an attendee of the march below.

We may not know what’s going to happen these next four years but what we can do is ensure that we are prepared. Read an excerpt from our February cover story [The Way Forward] ‘How Black America Can Survive, Thrive in the Trump Era’, to get started.

It’s time to get to work.


Melissa Kimble is the Senior Social Media Manager for the EBONY brand. An advocate for Black Creatives via #blkcreatives, you can connect with her on Twitter at @Melissa_Kimble.

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