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It’s the incomparable Kerry Washington’s birthday on January 31 and we are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating her on the blog. Washington has been a favorite of ours for years, starting with her iconic roles in Ray and Save the Last Dance. And while scenes from Scandal live rent-free in our brains, we loved seeing her shine the musical The Prom on Netflix alongside icon Meryl Streep. Today, we’re looking back at her literary roles. Because if there’s one thing we love more than Kerry Washington, it’s books. 

 

Mia Warren in Little Fires Everywhere (2020)

Kerry Washington is at the point in her career where she’s playing deeply complicated moms to smart teenagers and we could not be more into it. In Little Fires Everywhere, based on the book by Celeste Ng, Washington plays Mia Warren, an artist and single mother who shakes up the town of Shaker Heights just by moving in. We loved watching her go head to head with Reese Witherspoon about everything from living in a bubble to racism, and everything in between. Washington was also an executive producer on the mini-series and we cannot wait to see what she produces next.

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Blue in For Colored Girls (2010)

Ntozake Shange’s incredible play for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has transcended the theatrical space, making its way onto English lit and poetry syllabuses across the country. Which is why we feel comfortable calling Kerry Washington’s role of Blue in the movie For Colored Girls a literary role. (Theatre can be literature too!) This adaptation, directed and adapted for the screen by Tyler Perry, boasts an incredible ensemble cast, including Phylicia Rashad, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, and Anika Noni Rose. Talk about star-studded!

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Princess Shuri in the Black Panther miniseries (2010)

Before Black Panther entered the Marvel cinematic universe, there was an animated TV miniseries about the superhero, starring none other than Kerry Washington as Princess Shuri. And because Shuri is our absolute favorite character in the Black Panther comics – she’s a genius inventor with a sharp sense of humor! – we were overjoyed to learn this news. The six-episode series was created by Marvel Knights Animation and you can still watch it online in its entirety on Marvel Entertainment’s YouTube channel. Looks like we know what we’re watching this weekend! 

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Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006)

One of Kerry Washington’s first roles was playing Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland, the breakout role for one of our ultimate favorites: Forest Whitaker. In this adaptation of the Giles Foden novel of the same name, Washington plays the youngest of General Idi Amin’s three wives, who’s been shunned by the general. And while we love Washington in absolutely everything, it definitely flags as an early role: one defined solely by the men in the film. And now that she’s taking on executive producing roles and acquiring the film rights to some incredible books, we know that the roles she takes on from this point forward are only going to be incredible. 

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Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.