This is Why There's Be No Olivia Pope Without Diahann Carroll
Today, the world lost Diahann Carroll, a star of stage and screen that paved the way for many Black actresses by becoming the first to "portray an African American woman in a professional role and not the stereotypical servile character," according to the Washington Post. Celebrity tributes for Carroll began filling up Twitter and Instagram feeds, but the most powerful may just be from Scandal star Kerry Washington.
Washington posted a tweet with a photo from the 2013 Emmy Awards, when she brought Carroll out on stage with her. Carroll was the first African American Emmy nominee back in 1963 for her role in Naked City. At the 2013 ceremony, Washington was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role in Scandal. Washington was walking in Carroll's literal footsteps, since she was only the third Black actress to lead a network drama.
"I love you for eternity. With all my heart. I am because of you," the tweet reads.
Scandal superfans may also remember that Olivia Pope's codename was Julia Baker, the character that Carroll plated in her sitcom, Julia. Washington would later present Carroll with the Hollywood Legacy Award at the American Black Film Festival award in 2016.
Carroll was also the first Black woman to win a Tony and has always been vocal about the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry. At the 2013 Emmys, she said that she appreciated working on TV, since it seemed to be more accepting.
"We're all very grateful to the Emmys, because they've been on our side," Carroll said. "At the same time, we'd like it to be a little more with what's going on in the world."
Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis also posted tributes to Carroll on social media.
"Thank you for paving the way!!! It was an honor to know you Queen!!!," Henson wrote. "Your legacy will live on through us all!!!"
Davis posted a gallery of throwback pictures, writing, "My greatest blessing is that I had the honor to connect with you on a personal level. You shared your humor, your mess, your mistakes, your talent....You were authentic. As a woman and actress of color that will be your legacy. You left it all on the floor and we were shifted by it. Rest well Queen #DiahannCarroll. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."