'This is all of our problem': Kerry Washington on facing unconscious bias head-on in American Son

Kerry Washington joined q's Tom Power during the Toronto International Film Festival to talk about her new film, American Son.
Kerry Washington sat down with q's Tom Power at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Originally published on October 30, 2019

For seven years, Kerry Washington played Olivia Pope, the confident, fast-talking political fixer, on the smash hit television drama Scandal. Now, Washington's pendulum has swung in the other direction with a role that she has called "the un-Olivia Pope."

Her latest movie, American Son, was originally a play that has now been adapted for Netflix. It's about race, the police and unconscious bias.

Washington plays Kendra, one half of an estranged interracial couple, whose son Jamal has been involved in an incident with the police. The two parents come together in a desperate search for answers.

Washington joined q's Tom Power during the Toronto International Film Festival where American Son premiered this past September to tell us more about the film and what drew her to the role.

"[Unconscious bias] is all of our problem," said Washington. "This is not an isolated difficulty that just black people should be shouldering. This is something that impacts all of our children and all of our lives."

American Son hits Netflix on Friday, Nov. 1.

— Produced by ​Vanessa Nigro

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