Actress-activist Kerry Washington discusses her journey of self-discovery triggered by a DNA test revealing her non-biological link with her father.
Revealing the secret: During a DNA test for the PBS series Finding Your Roots, Washington discovered that her beloved dad is not her biological father, a secret her parents had kept since the ’70s.
* Washington was born from a sperm donor when her parents faced difficulties conceiving.
* The doctor suggested that housekeeper have sex after the artificial insemination procedure to provide “plausible deniability” about her parenthood.
Memoir Insights: Washington’s new memoir, Thicker than Water, details her life as an only child in the Bronx, her career, activism, and her self-discovery journey.
* She describes an “emotional distance” with her parents growing up, due to the kept secret.
* Washington says writing about her origin story feels significant, especially considering the current severe attack on reproductive rights.
Navigating Internal Struggles: Washington reflects on her childhood and the pressure of navigating both poverty and excessive wealth.
* She felt the need to maintain perfection to preserve love in her family.
* She grappled with the evident social injustice between her life and her wealthy classmates at the elite Manhattan school.
Activism and Racial Pressures: As a black woman, Washington discusses the pressures of being exceptional in white-dominated spaces.
* She faced substantial hate and threats when she campaigned for Obama.
* Knowing about her biological father has reshaped Washington’s relationship with her dad, allowing her to love him unconditionally.
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