Kerry Washington Wants Women In Film To Step Up

“So, I want to tell on myself, because a dear friend of mine, Pat Mitchell, who herself is a badass woman in the business, having run PBS and the Payley Center for Media, she called me a few years ago, because she for a long time worked for TED … She called and said, ‘I’m going to be running TED Women and I would love for you to speak.’ And I said, ‘You know, gosh, you know what, Pat, I really appreciate the invitation, but I just don’t know really know what I would say, I’m not sure what my story would be, I think I should decline, and maybe when I’m ready I’ll come do that.’ And Pat said to me, ‘Kerry, I’ve worked with TED for a really long time. No man has ever said to me, I’m not ready to speak, but for TED Women you are part of a long list of women who have denied me by saying they’re not ready.’ And I realized that what that meant is that we as women put ourselves in this situation of feeling like we can’t take a risk, like in order to step out there we have to be perfect, because we’re scared that if we don’t say the right thing, or do the right thing, that we’ll reflect poorly on ourselves and our community, whether that community be women, people of color, both.

So sometimes, we don’t step out there. And I’m telling on myself, because I didn’t [speak], even after Pat said to me, ‘This is so unfortunate, this is so wrong, women have to feel comfortable speaking out and stepping up, and standing in their light, and owning their voice.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. Good luck.’ I don’t do that often, but when I do, I know that it’s not good for me, and it’s not good for other women. I work for a woman, Shonda Rimes…who because of her courage to step into her light, and step up, and own her voice, has provided an opportunity for so many other women to soar, in front of and behind the camera. That’s what happens when we step up for ourselves — we create opportunity, whether it’s because we inspire other people or we employ other people or both.”

“Scandal” star and television goddess Kerry Washington received the 2014 Women in Film Lucy Award for Excellence in Television last night, and her acceptance speech to fellow ladies in the entertainment biz was like a jolt to the senses. It’s so easy to hold ourselves back out of fear, but in the end, we’re cheating ourselves when we do. Thanks for the reminder, Kerry! [BuzzFeed]