Why Kerry Washington loves producing

CANNES — Kerry Washington was spotted at the front of the stage at Hulu and Spotify’s Cannes Lions bash — bobbing her head and snapping pics during a performance by “Sky Walker” singer Miguel.

Washington was in Cannes celebrating her upcoming series for streaming service Hulu, “Little Fires Everywhere” which she’ll executive produce with Reese Witherspoon.

“I really enjoy producing,” she told us, comparing the job to her famed role as a crisis manager on “Scandal.” “I get to be like the Olivia Pope on set. You get to create opportunities for people and solve problems when they arise. I think it’s really important that as people of color and as women, we’re not just the subject of storytelling, but the people who are actually telling the stories.”

Washington also has a show on Facebook Watch, “Five Points,” and has produced a pilot for ABC. She is also producing and starring in Broadway’s upcoming “American Son.”

“I believe in the diversification of my portfolio as a producer,” she told us. “We are working across all mediums … I feel like it’s important to be exploring narrative in all arenas.”

While guests tipped back rosé, talk during a panel turned to authenticity.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” star Samira Wiley, an LGBT advocate, revealed that when she first became well known, she was afraid to speak her mind after posting something political on social media and losing 2,000 followers.

Wiley said her first thoughts were “‘OK, obviously this is not the thing to do. I’m in the public eye. I should not have a political stance.’ But then I realized, Why do I have this platform?’ People are looking at us to say things, or looking at us to know what to think, or whatever. And so I shifted my stance, like I actually need to speak out on things because of where I am. I had a wonderful experience with my own coming out experience, my parents are wonderful, but I know there are so many LGBT youth who don’t have that experience and do not have anyone.”

Wiley brought up staggering statistics on LGBT youth suicide and stated: “To have one person who is an advocate for you in your life reduces that by 30 percent and if I can do that for someone through social media then that is what I want to do.”

Miguel, who announced dates for his “The Ascension” tour, talked about connecting with fans.

“I think people connect to what a person stands for,” he said. “That’s why artists like Tupac to me will always be one the greatest. Because I knew what he stood for, I knew who he was representing, I knew who he was speaking to. Even if I couldn’t relate to everything he was saying, I felt in what he was doing that it was directed to a real audience and came from a real place.”

Miguel has been outspoken about immigration and believes being authentic about such issues has helped him connect to fans.

“For me, being of Mexican and black descent and knowing that my father is an immigrant to the United States … seeing all of the change and figuring out the proper solution for undocumented people in the United States has been something that has been dear to my heart.”

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