Anjelika Washington is very clear about how the White community can be an ally to Black people. And the Stargirl actress says that not being prejudiced isn’t enough.
“I’d say on being a White ally, [make] sure you’re an active ally, because it’s not enough to just be non-racist,” the actress tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “You have to be anti-racist.
“So, any allies really have to call it out. You have to call out anything that you see, anything that you hear. And they have to stand up. They have to fully be shamelessly on the right side of history.”
Anjelika should know. The actress – who has been pounding the streets participating in Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death – is no stranger to adding her voice to an important cause.
“I’d like to consider myself an ally for other communities,” she says, specifically highlighting the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual) community. “I’m an ally anywhere. I’ll call it out. Anything I hear. Slurs. Any type of language, behavior. I always speak up.”
While Anjelika describes seeing George Floyd dying on camera while a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as the “last straw,” she has protested in the name of numerous causes. “I’ve been to the Women’s March, March For Our Lives, pretty much anything that has been within the last five years,” she says.
Why? As the daughter of a former prison peace officer and a retired discrimination investigator, protesting inequality is in her blood. “It’s in my family to stand up, to speak, to march, to just be active in any way that we can and to pay attention to politics so that we don’t repeat history,” Anjelika says.
Thankfully, despite attending multiple protests in Los Angeles since Floyd’s May 25 death, she hasn’t been tear-gassed or hit by police rubber bullets. “I’ve gotten boxed in a few times,” she says. “I’ve had to ditch my car, leave it there. Run home, get an Uber, whatever. But, I’m really lucky. I have a great support system. I have great friends. I do everything with allies.”
Those “allies” include White friends who are part of her “buddy system,” accompanying pals like her, who are Black, while they’re protesting to ensure their safety. “So, if there’s me and three other friends who are people of color, then there’s also going to be four White allies with us at all times.”
It’s this fearlessness to speak truth to power that connects her to her Stargirl character, Beth Chapel; the nerdy student who, when she dons a superhero suit, becomes Doctor Mid-Nite II. “Beth and I are so similar,” Anjelika says. “We are both very optimistic. We’re both very close to our parents. We’re both very excited and passionate about pretty much everything that we do. We’re both intelligent.”
She adds, “I’d say Beth is a little more naïve than I am. Maybe even a little more fearless, even though she also has her moments when she’s afraid. She does it anyway. She has a lot of courage and I’m really inspired by that.” Stargirl airs on CW on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.