� Scott Foley on Kerry Washington and shooting in the Bahamas (Scandal Revealed Podcast 4x01)
Interviewer: Ellen, you’ve spoken out a lot about television being too white and obviously Grey’s which premiered in 2005 was the pioneer here. What’s it been like to participate in this shift or what we can hope is a shift?
Ellen Pompeo: It’s been incredible to be a part of the change in television. I just think that, you know, I don’t know… I get so nervous answering these questions because you know they’ll turn anything I say into… Listen this has been an incredible ride and thank God that Shonda Rhimes had this agenda to make television look like life, to make it look like the real world, and you know finally the networks who are just operating on a completely archaic system… Once something succeeds and makes money, ‘oh what a brilliant idea that is! Lets give a black woman a job because there’s no black women in the world, so why would you ever think of that before?’ It’s like all of a sudden, ‘oh black women can make money too? oh, well okay, lets fill up the screen.’ Such an outdated archaic system. Thank God for Shonda Rhimes because without her wisdom and wit and creativity behind it, giving it the right stage, they just don’t see it and thank god for Kerry because Kerry was so instrumental in making Scandal what it is. That’s not to take anything away from Shonda, it was a brilliant idea, it was a brilliant show and everybody, all the writers on that show, most of them were on Grey’s so I know them all and love them all and I’ve probably given every one of them a hard time. It was really Kerry’s whole political side that she pushed that through and she made people watch and she made people pay attention and she was like everyone is going to see this show, so Kerry deserves a lot. The whole Twitter thing, I mean she deserves a lot of credit for making Scandal what it is. Shonda too obviously, she put it out there and fought but you really had, the whole cast contributes of course to the making of the show but what I mean specifically is the promotion of the show and really getting it out there because you know it didn’t really become that until the whole social media thing and you deserve the bulk of the credit for that and for telling everybody, this is what we should be doing. She took a real leadership role which is not something that is not always easily done. I could never really take the leadership role on Grey’s Anatomy. There’s too many people involved and things would get too complicated. The fact that she was able to take a leadership role and it worked so brilliantly. A lot of credit should go to her.
Interviewer: You eluded to this a little bit but how important do you think it is for people of color to finally see their lives reflected on screen? I mean this has been, forever.
Ellen: You know honestly, I’m not the most articulate person when it comes to talking about this stuff, but I’m so so often embarrassed, you know, as a white person I’m so embarrassed, for… I get really emotional with all this stuff. You know we have a lot to be shameful for and we can only hope and do everything we can to continue to make strides because we’ve done a tremendous amount of damage to people, and I’ve seen it first hand and we’re going to be paying this off, paying this debt off forever as far as I’m concerned and no amount of retribution… That’s enough in my eyes.
…and that goes for every race Asian, Latino, everything. Still Asians aren’t represented the way they should be. Indian people aren’t represented. I mean if you go to cedars there’s a ton of Pakistani doctors and Indian doctors and they’re not represented still. There are other groups that we need to represent. We are not finished by any means.
Viola Davis: But, it’s interesting that Shonda gets these questions all the time. She mentions this too, that she’s the one, and literally she doesn’t set out to say ‘okay, I want a certain number of black people in the cast and a certain number of Hispanics.’ She just goes out and she finds the actors, okay, and it’s interesting that you have a number of directors and show runners out there who just have all Caucasian cast. Now they see color. They may not tell you, and you know why they won’t tell you? Because, you won’t put them to task. I’m not saying you, I’m saying people in general, you know, will not put those directors and show runners and producers to task so they will continue doing what they’re doing and they’re the ones who really need to be pushed in that direction. Shonda doesn’t have the problem.
Ellen: I’d love to sort of take the term diversity and bring it into the next century, to no longer just include race because lets just get past diversity being a couple of black people in a show. Diversity is political differences, handicaps…
Kerry Washington: ….sexual orientation, religion, age, gender….
Ellen: …diversity is the world. The word diversity, honestly I’d like to just throw it away, because we’re all diverse, it’s everything.
Kerry: Unfortunately, we can’t yet.
Ellen: We can’t.
Kerry: How great it will be when we can because it just is. Not because it doesn’t matter, but because it just is."
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"The Leading Ladies of ABC’s Thursday Night Lineup" Interview
Shaun Robinson asked her about the possibility of being the first American-American woman in 40 years to win in the lead actress Drama category, and whether she thinks about it much. Kerry paused and said, sometimes she does, but she started the day watching the Michael Brown funeral services, and there’s a lot to think about being an African-American in this country. Bet the audience didn’t expect that answer. This is the Kerry I love the most.