The actor doesn’t reveal on which show the incident occurred, but said it happened in Los Angeles in 2017 on her fourth job as an actor. On her IMDb page, the Go90 series “Versus” is listed as her fourth TV project and was also released in 2017.
“I was very uncomfortable (as anyone would be to meet your double in blackface) so I spoke up for myself,” Washington wrote on Instagram on Thursday. “I pulled one of our producers aside and asked ‘Why isn’t my stunt double Black like me? Isn’t that the point of a double? She responded ‘Sure. But we couldn’t find a Black stunt double in L.A. Los Angeles doesn’t have many Black stunt performers. But aren’t you happy to be working? You should be thankful to be here.'”
Washington shared a photo of herself with an awkward smile next to her stunt double on Instagram, opening up about the experience in the caption and comments. She said she started to question herself and felt “powerless, voiceless and somehow ungrateful.”
“There’s this oppressive thing that often happens when everyone and everything are ran by white people on sets (and in any industry) where they try to manipulate POC into just being GRATEFUL to be there,” she wrote. “They do this to us because they know that they literally run the show. They feel like a savior for giving a young Black girl a role in their show, even though most times it’s just to check a box. They often don’t check to see if we are comfortable with what they are asking of us, they often call us unprofessional or a diva for advocating for ourselves, and most times they get away with paying us way less than our costars. This is why being inclusive and hiring POC in front of the camera and behind it is extremely imperative.”
She said she performed well enough in her action scenes that her stunt double wasn’t used, but “the whole time I kept telling myself ‘I have to be great. No, I have to be better than great. I have to be so amazing that they don’t need her. No one can know that I have a stunt double in blackface.'”
“Station 19” star Jason Winston George and “Riverdale” actor Hayley Law commented on Washington’s post, saying they’ve had similar experiences with stunt doubles.
“I am vowing to never ever allow these types of micro & macro aggressions to happen to me again. And you should not either,” Washington wrote in a follow-up comment. “We must value ourselves higher even if they call us a diva. We must use our voice even if they call us loud. We must demand equality even if they call us ungrateful. The next generation depends on us. #blacklivesmatter.”
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