‘Scandal’ Gladiators! Kerry Washington Graces November 2013 ESSENCE Cover, Penned By Moi

I mean, ESSENCE’s Entertainment Director Cori Murray barely got the words out of her mouth before I hit her with the overly enthusiastic, breathless, “Yes, I’m a Gladiator! Yes, I’d love to write a cover story on Kerry Washington!” What journalist worth her salt, after all, wouldn’t want to profile Hollywood’s “It” girl—the woman who, in the last few months, was named the world’s best dressed starlet, was nominated for an Emmy (the first Black woman to enjoy the honor since Cicely Tyson’s nomination in 1995), got hitched to a handsome professional football player and is heading into the third season as the star of the hottest drama on television, Scandal? Kerry Washington is the story of the season. And I’m still swooning over the fact that I was blessed with the opportunity to interview and pen an epic feature about one of my favorite celebrities for one of my favorite magazines.

I’ll say this: Kerry lived up to every expectation I had of her: she’s gorg in person (like naturally beautiful in a totally understated but awesomely glam way), smart as hell, thoughtful, and passionate about her art, her God and her place as an African American woman in a cut-throat industry that is slowly but finally recognizing the import of a diversity of voices on both television and in film. Her thoughts on how amazing it is to have 8.5 million fans tuning in to Scandal to show their love for Olivia Pope, the powerful and scandalous Washington, D.C. “fixer” who also happens to be a Black woman, moved me. Of Scandal Gladiators, Kerry said:

They are allowing an educated, intelligent, powerful, complicated, human, flawed, multidimensional Black woman into their homes. They’re not walking past her on the street, they’re not trying to avoid engaging her, they’re not ignoring her and pretending she’s somebody else’s family and somebody else’s problem…

Indeed, they are in a relationship with Olivia. And Kerry. And strong, complicated, intelligent black women. And to this, I say, “Hell yes!”

Of course, the third season of Scandal, the creation of TV mastermind Shonda Rhimes, debuts tonight at 10 p.m. I’ll be watching with the Queen of the Gladiators, Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie, who is hosting a Scandal viewing party at BlogaliciousFIVE, here in Atlanta. *insert image of Denene pumping a fist in the air* I absolutely can not wait to see how news of Olivia’s affair with the president plays out amongst the Washington elite, and especially to get the scoop on her relationship with the Joe Morton character, whom we found out, literally in the last seconds of season two, is her damn daddy!

For my Scandal Gladiators: enjoy the new season. And for my Kerry Washington fans, cop the November 2013 issue of ESSENCE with Ms. Kerry babaaay. It hits newsstands October 10.


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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Sigh. I LOVE me some Kerry Washington and the boyfriend is threatened (and should be). She, the FLOTUS, Shonda Rhimes and Oprah are my icons! How awesome that you got to interview her! I will be picking up a copy!

  2. I’m SUPER excited and sooo proud of you, Denene!!!! I can’t wait until I receive my copy! Blessings!

  3. Congratulations, Denene! I just received my copy of Essence and I’m honored we are in the same issue as your well-written feature on Ms. Kerry Washington.

    Wishing you all the best and continued success,

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