Kerry Washington made a welcome return to the red carpet last night.
In her first public appearance since welcoming son Caleb Asomugha on Oct. 5, the Scandal actress attended the Ambassadors for Humanity Gala benefiting the USC Shoah Foundation in Hollywood Thursday. Washington invited her husband, Nnamdi Asomugha, to be her plus one.
Washington, who spent the night chatting up J.J. Abrams, Jesse Jackson and Steven Spielberg, was on hand to honor Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, both of whom embody the Institute for Visual History and Education’s values and mission to promote tolerance and mutual respect. The actress kicked off the annual event, which also including presentation from Harrison Ford.
John Williams, meanwhile, performed with a full orchestra.
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“It is truly an honor to be here with you all at the Ambassadors for Humanity benefiting the USC Shoah Foundation. Steven, thank you for inviting me and allowing me to be part of this very special evening and entrusting me with task of opening it up,” Washington, 39, said shortly after taking the stage. “It is a privilege to honor my friends George Lucas and Mellody Hobson. Tonight you will hear from Steven and others how amazing George and Mellody are.”
“I will tell you this: I have known Mellody for many years. We met in our work together to end violence against women and girls, and I was quickly enamored with who she is, what she has accomplished, what she wears, how she walks in the world. She is a phenomenal human being—a great girlfriend,” she continued. “She is one of my guiding lights and personal heroes.”
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“Her husband is obviously a genius and a trailblazer and a creative force. And I have to say, when I got to know him, he wasn’t George Lucas: He was my friend’s boyfriend and now husband,” she said of the Star Wars icon. “And I want to tell you about them. They are open-minded, and open-hearted. They have built a life for themselves and others with love, and empathy, and imagination and endless possibility. They are the real deal, and I can only pray that one day our world reflects what these two imagine and embody. I love you both dearly.”
Washington explained that the Visual History Archive “provides for a truly inspiring and transformative education.” According to the actress, “It is vitally important that students understand the perspective of others their own place in the world. Because if we can build empathy, we can hope that all this hate we are seeing globally will become a thing of the past.”
“A big part of what I do as an actor is I get to allow someone a window into a world they may not have ever thought of before, and for me, that’s felt like a political act. Because as a woman, and person of color, letting people into my world, is something they may not of had the opportunity to do unless I stood there and told that story,” she said. “These stories connect us. These stories allow us all to say that we are survivors, to say that we are all Jewish, to say we are all immigrants, to say that we are all people of color, that we are all part of the queer community, that we are all women, that we all need each other, to stand up for each other.”