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'Scandal' updates image of black women on network television
Actress Kerry Washington, left, plays a character based on Judy Smith, right, on ABC's 'Scandal'.
May 25th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

'Scandal' updates image of black women on network television

By Sarah Springer, CNN

(CNN) - Olivia Pope is smart, runs a successful business and is the center of attention when she enters a room.

She’s the kind of woman who magazines say every woman can be, and the type that others love to hate.

There’s just one thing: She is also black.

After a successful first season, viewers know that Pope, the lead character on ABC’s “Scandal,” is African-American.

But they might not realize the significance of her race.

Pope, played by Kerry Washington, is the first African-American female lead on a major network show in 38 years.

“Like any human being, [Pope] is someone who happened to be born female and black and those elements add to who she is as a human being,” Washington said. “So do I think that another person of another race could play her? Yes. Do I think it would change the story a little bit, do I think it would change the character a little bit? Yes.”

Portrayals of black women have come a long way from the blaxploitation-inspired characters like Teresa Graves, the last black actress to play a lead on network television, in “Get Christie Love!”

While blaxploitation was based on exaggeration, Olive Pope was based on Judy Smith, a real-life crisis management specialist for the George W. Bush administration.

“I hope that Olivia Pope being a lead of a television series and being smart and vulnerable and the most desirable woman in any room that she walks into changes something for someone in the way they perceive women of color,” said Shonda Rhimes, creator of "Scandal." “But I also hope that people watch it and find it to be good entertainment.”

An average of 7.3 million people watched the finale, according to Nielsen, and 1.8 million African-American viewers viewed the season finale that day. It was the No. 1 show among African-Americans for the week of May 14-May 20, 2012.

“Having the African-American lead really does make a difference,” said Rick Kissell, prime time ratings reporter for Variety magazine. “It is something that the networks can count on knowing that they have a built-in audience that maybe wouldn’t watch their other shows.”

Since the show has aired, Washington notes that viewers of all races have commented on how happy they are to see a smart and sophisticated woman portrayed on television.

“It’s the truth of her humanity that’s the hook,” Washington said. “The most important thing is that you believe her humanity and if you can do that, then lots of people can relate to her in lots of different ways.”

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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Women
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. DJ

    Centering everything on race is stupid. We are all americans not a nation by race.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JL

    I love that the lead is 1st a woman, 2nd a black woman, 3rd and darkskin black woman... and the show's story line is great. I'm actually looking foward to next season.

    July 18, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Native American Man(does it matter?)

    Soooo, why is it that everywhere there is all this emphasis on race? People are people born from the same breath who settled in different places and evolved accordingly. Focusing on the race of a person is as detrimental to society as nationalism is. We are all part of the same world; we all suffer together. We are all part of the same collective consciousness destroying our mother earth, not seperate from one another. Just my personal take. The sins of the father, become the sins of the son.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brendan

    This is a really poorly written article. It is also totally useless. All I learned from it is that the network cast a black woman because black people only watch shows with black people...great. Thanks, CNN.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • FS

      The statistics may be true, however, I am african american and one of my family's favorite shows is Big Bang Theory. I've only seen a black person on there once, and while that's disappointing, it doesn't keep us from watching.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. TruthHurts

    Hope they make it realistic and show that she's only successful because of affirmative action.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheActualTruthHurts

      Or perhaps she is a great actress and has earned the role? Affirmative Action doesn't even exist in Hollywood. Idiot.

      July 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Adrianne

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Scandal. Thank you Shonda! Thank you Kerry Washington!

    June 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. me

    Black people make up 13% of the populations...how many african americans did you think where going to be in lead roles?
    i used to watch will smiths main squeeze in HawthoRNe a few years back and i am pretty sure she isn't white
    of course now that i think was on tnt so probably not considered a major network

    June 5, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lost

    Jealous! The wonder of Blackness is rebound power. Greatness and longevity is inevitable.

    June 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lvniterida

    Both women appear to be white to me. Just saying... it would be nice if our african american women were rewarded more in hollywood for looking more african these days. It kind of annoys me a lil bit when people try extra hard to appear unnatural... not saying these ladies are unnatural. Just saying in general, no matter their race. I really do appreciate truly beautiful, smart, professional black women such as Condoleeza Rice or Angela Bassett. Now if women like those are given more lead roles than I can see the point.

    June 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roelof

    Now they've got their own shows.

    June 3, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. WhoCares

    The TV show sucks. Oh and if having a black woman as a TV lead characther is your measure of sucess – you are doomed. It's meaningless in the real world.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Guze

      Why are u being such a hater and an enemy of progress in fact you sound so raciest. Wake up the revolution is now being televised.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • NatCat

      Ha- ha. People like you make me laugh. Maybe you should ed-ya-ma-cate yourself and you might land a leading role some day. or at least not sound like a moron on public forums!

      October 1, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. MKP

    This is a pretty significant achievement, but I think it needs to be noted that the negative portrayal of black women in recent years has been fueled largely by the endeavors of people like Tyler Perry, who rely on tired and offensive caricatures and then try to negate that element by peppering in some more favorable characters in secondary roles. It's a cheap trick, but it can only work if African American audiences continue to buy tickets to it. That said, I'm rooting for this show and more like it.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    Who is responsible for the image of black women?......hmmm.............maybe ..BLACK WOMEN!!!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Eden

      I'm guessing you've never met a black woman in your life, dude.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • ptsdLOADING

      To you, I guess the same logic would hold true of Islamic women who get acid thrown in their faces, huh? If you don't ever plan on waking up, just go back to sleep – for good!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • How ignorant are you?

        Seriously, how ignorant are you? I know you are trying to make a logical reply to Eden and Jim's weird oddball comments.... but you are stereotyping Muslim (Islamic) women. It is culture and not religion that needs fixing in these women's lives. Furthermore, even the cultures are not to be blamed for cruel fools out there, who use them to justify their crimes.

        June 14, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. sonia

    it is unfair that you threw out my post. why?

    May 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sonia

    racism is never one sided. it won't end until both sides agree for it to end.

    May 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  16. sonia

    the subject of race is only the people's natural response to the racial politics that are a major part of our country's foundation. our country's existence once upon a time depended on slavery and the aftermath – racism. not many people especially those who were somewhat touched by this part of our history can simply "just get over it."

    May 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scribbler

      I agree wholeheartedly. It will never be forgotten. The best we can hope for is that it is forgiven. I also think that racism will never completely go away, and that is because people of all races still harbor it in their hearts.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Leigh

    Our country is filled with amazingly beautiful black women and yet these black sports figures continue to go for these trailer park white women. I just don't get it.

    May 29, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  18. Mad5cience

    If skin color is of no significance...why has it taken 38 YEARS for a network show to have a black woman in a lead role? This show is a very positive step in that the show does not revolve around race or 'blaxploitation' as in the last show 38 years ago. That is the point of the article and many, many people find that change refreshing and healthy to our culture of equality in America. Obviously there are still some angry people that just do not get it.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  19. 0rangeW3dge

    jeez, what's your problem?
    They just said that the character is a well-liked, successful business woman.
    Is that because of her skin tone? It sounds like you need a little tanning session yourself...

    May 29, 2012 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  20. John

    I understand being proud of who you are and where you came from. But why does it always have to be about race or skin color. Can't we just say a beautiful woman and without the "thank you to my people" remarks. As long as the media and yes pop icons, celebrities and the masses keep projecting this type of distinctions then race/color will always be at the forefront of any poll or conversation. Such a shame when we cannot just acknowledge a human being, a person, male or female on their abilities and accomplishments regardless or race or color.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Verna

      John, I cant tell you how much I agree with you. It is a shame that most just don't get it. As long as we point out the differences we will continue to undermine the progress made in race relations. We all can see each others, color why is necessary to continue to point out what the eyes can see? We will never completely overcome until we fully accept ourselves.

      May 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marissa

        But that is the ISSUE. Why can we not point out our differences? We are ALL not the same. Just as people are proud to be of different ethnic backgrounds, I am glad to see a Black woman on television in a lead role. It's refreshing to turn on the television and see someone who looks like you. What's so wrong with that?

        May 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • YouHaveIssues

        No....we will never overcome racism until we fully accept each other.

        June 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stacey Lewis

      i think the reason they point out her race is to shoe how significant her role as Olivia Pope is in the media and when it comes to race. Shouldn't we be questioning why kerry washington is the first black female lead in 40 years. what about the fact that clearly we haven't come as far as people think when diversity and positive portrayals of marginalized groups is the exception, not the norm. When that happens, I will be glad to drop race issues, but until then.......

      May 28, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • lovinghettobooty

      senseless violence racism and murder will never stop.we can only hope the whining about the real world will cease.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  21. Jay

    By writing stories like this it only creates profiling and judgement. Its stories like this that i get sick of. If some one is doing great then good for them. Why bring race into it? Because media wouldn't be able to sell if they didn't create controversy

    May 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouHaveIssues

      Race is an issue...and a big one...in this country and we will not be able to fix it until we address it and honestly.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  22. ashogbon

    black, brown, grey, green , pink and potatos we are all crazy

    May 28, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  23. Name*Mr

    She is a white black.

    May 28, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • UncreditedRewrite

      I've never heard of "white black" before. Could you elaborate?

      May 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  24. amber

    I would say I like the show...but the reference of being a strong black women I disagree. she has fell in love with a married man and exiled herself from normal life because of it. Another black women thinking she can make a man hers. Living a sad depressed lonely life in the success lane is not something I aspire too.

    May 28, 2012 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • YouHaveIssues

      Like many show I see every day with white women. So what's your point?

      June 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • FS

        You really have to watch all of the episodes..i get the impression that she didn't "want" to love him, and tries not to, however the love is there, and neither character can deny it. She didn't set out to steal him away. His character is a very willing participant, and some would say, he initiated the affair. To be fair, they are both wrong...

        December 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  25. Teresa

    I have not seen the show but by what people are saying about it i would like to watch it. It is good to finally have a black woman in a strong and positive role. It is about time.

    May 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      Its not the black woman's fault blame hollywood for never giving them the roles.

      May 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Maggie McDuh

    I think the issue of race is a silly thing to bring up. Until we begin to treat it as if it doesn't exist it will always be an ISSUE. Ms. Washington is beautiful no matter what color she is. The show is fantastic no matter who wrote it. This is not the early nineties and pointing out the color of anyone involved is not affirmative it's patronizing to the point of being offensive. There will never be equality until people teach themselves to apply the same standards to everyone and get over their grade school mentality.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      yeah.............when you get a disease, treat it like it doesn't exist and i am sure it will heal by itself.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marissa

        Amen!

        May 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Donna

        Thank You!

        May 29, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Scribbler

        I think I will second that amen!

        July 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  27. GailS

    Too bad their lessons didn't rub off on you.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  28. jon

    Theres what you see on TV and then there is the reality of the real world...seldom do they meet

    May 27, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  29. MissLadya

    What about Pinkett-Smith in Hawthorne?

    May 27, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
    • GailS

      Since when has she been black?

      May 27, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
      • Heaveninc

        comments like yours reveal the hatred some women have for each other and why we don't accomplish more in the world.. too busy competing and hating each other.. We could have so much more, be so much more without all the negativity and hate for other women..
        Some black women were raised in a white world, some white women were raised in a black world.. they are the bridges of compassion and understanding between them.. stop hating..

        May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DAD

      regular network television. It's very presumptive of media companies to assume everyone affords cable or satellite. .

      May 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • IveBeenEverywhere

      For got about that show. But TNT isn't exactly national. Then again it got canceled....Mark Anthony scandals and all....

      May 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  30. mignon

    OmG everytime I get on this bog and it is about an African American the racism rears it head. Kerry is a good actress period. some people bring race into everything, its shameful!

    May 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      The story is about race, the state media constantly hammers race every single day...they invite peoples wrath because most are sick of hearing about it

      May 27, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  31. Chuck

    Sad that anyone takes this seriously. There are more pressing problems right now we don't need to examine women or blacks or Asians we need to examine America. Period.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Isn't American women, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans part of the examination of America?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
      • jon

        No with the country circling the toilet bowl and about to implode economically we don't need to hear about trivial TV race issues daily...we need reporters jamming a microphone and camera in the faces of Washington politicians asking what the heck they are going to do to prevent a disaster.

        May 27, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
      • GailS

        Sometimes people forget. Thanks for the reminder.

        May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  32. sharky

    Wow and still complaining.

    I guess some people just cannot see past race no matter what. Frankly I see a man and a woman in love in the show, but it is a forbidden love because he is married.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Janet

    Excellent show! Such wonderful dialogue and exceptional actors.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Brenda

    Love this show, Kerry Washington is great, entire cast is great! No one has mentioned the "old school music" I love it. Thank you Ms. Rhimes

    May 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erica AUSC

      YES; that old school music is AWESOME. I noticed that too!

      May 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  35. theinfamousmickey

    I love Kerry Washington, she's hot, stunning, smart, and certainly a great actress. I hope to see her on the Silver Screen soon.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Geez.

    What a sad country we live in when it's been 38 yrs since they had a Black female lead on a major network show! This country thoroughly embarasses me!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Desatra

      Uhm, I think they made a mistake..there hasn't been a female black lead on a network TV show since 1974??? Do they maybe mean 28 years? –I'm thinking of The Cosby Show and the great African-American cast including the lead parents, Phylicia Rashad along with Bill Cosby...

      May 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Theo

        Bill Cosby was the lead. It was the "Cosby Show." This does not just mean supporting actress, but refers to an actual primary character. This does not diminish the importance of Claire Huxtable, it's just the she is a different category of character.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gribis

        In 1981 there was a short lived spin-off of 'The Jeffersons' centered around the character of the maid, Florence.

        May 28, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
      • patranila

        They did make a mistake. Both Lisa Bonet and Jasmine Guy were the lead actors (at different times of course) in A Different World. On NBC, a major network.

        May 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Rufus Paige

    The show is great!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  38. cloudi9

    At this point, only one race.........human.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Denise

    Diahanne Caroll...as Julia.....Nures and single mom...ooops before your time!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy G.

      I was glued to that show when i was a little boy! I enjoyed that show because it was so different from the other shows, plus she was amazingly beautiful to look at. When I think of a smart capable woman I think of women like her.
      She deserves some real mention in today's views on history. I ranked her right up there with Sidney Poitier.
      I would welcome seeing those old shows again, if only to marvel at the old attempts to show people that a smart black woman could be an impressive character in a medical drama.
      Are there any re-runs floating around? I suppose most people would think it strange for me to even ask, but I do not go surfing the web all that much.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jimmy G.

        Good grief I wonder how bad that show was if they can't do reruns of it. IMDB mentions that the show was "too unrealistic" but I wonder in what way...

        May 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Pants987987

    Kerry Washington makes my mouth water. So freaking good looking.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  41. lb007

    accept it pure whites, the america you know is gone! there will continue to mixed race until that's essentially all that exist. love knows no boundaries and ignorance is on it's way out.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Hello, Third World. Goodbye, civilization.

      White rule will some day be looked upon as a Golden Age.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • O

        Sad but true.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pokey

        Agree, I am glad I will not live long enough to see this country become the trash dump that other countries have become. :-( I am not racist but I am proud to be white. Why can't I be proud of my heritage?I am the daughter of a settler and proud of it!

        May 27, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
      • IveBeenEverywhere

        I didn't know Atom Bombs and Slavery were civil...but I digress.

        May 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • YouHaveIssues

        I guess you think people who travel the world, cuering others, enslaving them, murdering them, raping them, stealing every thing from them are civilized more than others??? LMAO.

        June 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  42. THETRUH

    I would like a Latin woman portrayed in a similar role. The stereotype is either "hot" "sultry" and "spitfire"... or a darned maid! (though the first is not too insulting, haha)

    May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jacob

    CNN is so racist. Why don't they just come out and say that they hate white people and are scared to death to offend any one of color – be that black, light black, sort of a blackish-hue black, Mexican, illegal alien, legal alien, white Mexican, Mexican Mexican, non-Mexican Latino, White Latino, Non White Mexican Latino, etc... We get it CNN – you hate white people!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      No they don't hate white people, only ignorant whites, and any other ethnic group that needs to scapegoat the other.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • the floacist

      Its funny how some people's brains think if we focus on any group that are not White Americans - God forbid - it must mean they hate white people. Do you guys really go insane when you're not the center of attention 24/7?

      May 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrUniteUs

      NO way. Look at Andersen Cooper

      May 27, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  44. mannydanny455

    Haven't seen a good all-black show yet (other than Sanford and Son) but I'm willing to give this one a look, as Kerry Washington is one HOT, GORGEOUS hunk of WOMAN.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • theinfamousmickey

      AMEN!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      then you must never have seen the Cosby Show

      May 28, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  45. Pelle

    She is stunning!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  46. hahaha

    Black women - now whiter!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      I apologize for the above comment on behalf of the educated African-American community.

      June 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  47. meatser

    Halle didn't get recognition till she was in roles sleeping with white men. Like wise with this actress. If you're a black actress that wants super stardom, take a role where you sleep with a white guy.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss Zee

      so much truth in that statement ... unfortunately :-(

      May 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Washington can act, Berry cannot.

      The creator of the show is black anyway.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Also: Reflecting the real-world, Black women and white men ARE actually sleeping together. This isn't an initiation into some kind of esoteric league of black women. It's not a validation of worth. It's just reality. Christ.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  48. Just wishin' & hopin' & prayin'

    In my generation I liked the actress Denise Nicholas – she played the teacher Liz on "Room 222"...she was starred "In

    the Heat of the Night.."...also Thelma Hopkins in anything.

    "Lights! Camera! Action!..I'm readfy for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille"..Gloria Swanson...Sunset Blvd.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  49. sharky

    Scandal is an awesome show. I love it. Washington is so lovely and brilliant as the role of Pope. I am hooked on the show.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  50. puckles

    This women do not have traditional black features, so I do not know how far they have really come.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson Spriggs

      Just curious as to what are traditional black features. Black women (and men) come in all shades, hues, colors, shapes and sizes. I don't know what a non-traditional black person looks like

      May 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Jackson, what he is really saying is most "black" people are mixed races. White with black, latino with black, asian with black, and the list can go on and on.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • kic73

      If you do not think Kerry Washington embodies the epitome of most Black/African "American" women, you are walking around with blinders on.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Traditional black features?

      So let me guess that is code for saying she is too white for a black woman for you.

      Sheesh, actually having a beautiful black woman in a leading role of a tv show, portraying a strong intelligent woman and she is still not black enough. Some people are never satisfied period.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • the floacist

      What BS. Some of you guys will claim this about any attractive black woman. How are her features are not 'traditionally black'? She has brown skin, full lips, etc.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • IveBeenEverywhere

      What's traditional black features though? That's like saying there's traditional white features (Um...you have Irish, Italian, French, etc). I know what you mean, but black people come in many different shades. Casting lighter people is a different story all together.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouHaveIssues

      white people came from africans so those white features you all claim are actually black and can be found all over africa..

      June 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  51. melanie

    What about S. Epatha Merkerson on Law & Order? She was on for over a decade...a great character played by a great actor.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • todd

      ensemble cast. :)
      this show is built around kerry washington's character

      May 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie B.

      Excellent point, even if she wasn't the lead character. She never got the acclaim that she should have for that show, especially her story arc in the final season.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Barbara Myer

    New image: compartively pale with straightened hair? You've come a long way, baby.

    When, when, when will there be change and/or progress to be proud of?

    May 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • the floacist

      Oh my God. Kerry Washington is 'comparatively pale'? Do some of you think black people are literally black? So what if she straightens her hair? That doesn't make her any less black. Its a hair style, but of course something as little as that has to be made political.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Desatra

      If a successful, assertive, and beautiful black woman professional wishes to have straight hair or is one who is lighter-skinned and becomes successful, why can't this be progressive and ok too? I don't believe that a person of any particular race needs to conform to certain looks, styles or images to be happy and to make it. Anybody should be allowed to enjoy looking like and being what they want, and do with that what they can in life to enjoy it.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      This is a load of bull. I'm tired of the light-skinned/dark-skinned nonsense. I'm light skinned; darker than my mom, much lighter than my dad, with my sister darker than me. Who the hell decided that we have to start discriminating amongst ourselves. I wear my hair straight. Does that mean I'm less black? Why oh why do we do this?!? Don't act like there's not diversity among us.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  53. aprincessespavane

    Thank goodness! I am happy that a strong woman is being portrayed on television who is not using her female attributes to get attention. Not to say that there aren't others, but I am proud of Kerry Washington.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  54. mikrik13

    The new image. Sarah Springer, where you been?

    May 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  55. KABLARG PRIME

    She's hot.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |