Kerry Washington tweet sparks fury online: April 9 was spent in mourning for many populations across continents, with the passing of two prominent public personalities. In England, Prince Philip, the longest-lived male member of the British monarchy, died aged 99. Meanwhile, in the USA, rapper Earl Simmons, better known as DMX, died at 50. Both were facing health issues.
The mood of the internet, through both events, remained mixed owing to the two men’s massive but massively differentiated legacies of influence.
Where Prince Philip was regarded as a staunch upholder of the royal Firm through its colonial past marred with a history of racism and oppression, DMX was widely noted for the socio-political content of his speech and song that aspired towards equality.
So when American actor Kerry Washington put out a tribute tweet that seemed to place both late figures on the same pedestal, netizens had a lot to say to her.
“They Don’t Compare”: Kerry Washington Tweet Prompts Backlash
“Anybody else wondering what DMX and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip [sic] are chatting about together at the pearly gates? My love to both their families. May they both Rest In Peace,” Washington wrote on April 9 in a now-deleted tweet.
Instantly, netizens swarmed on the Django Unchained actor’s tweet with raised eyebrows.
The actor was lambasted for even suggesting that both men would share space in heaven, with the upper hand given to DMX. Many from the Black community were also critical of Washington, who, like DMX, is of Black heritage herself, firing her for giving recognition to Prince Philip and overlooking the many racist gaffes from his past.
A social media user shared a compilation of the late Duke of Edinburgh’s statements that reflected racial overtones. It included the time Prince Philip said “You are a woman, aren’t you?” to a Kenyan woman offering him a gift. “Still throwing spears?” another remark read, referring to an incident when Prince Philip interacted with Aboriginals in Australia.
Here’s how social media reacted to the now-deleted Kerry Washington tweet:
Kerry….Phillip is looking up….DMX is looking down…… pic.twitter.com/fFvbFziIFa
— im not letting you be racist in peace (@caliphorniaqing) April 9, 2021
The TL to Kerry Washington: pic.twitter.com/rBTxGn2Yfl
— Pfizer Pfupa (@ThoughtsByJae) April 9, 2021
Kerry Washington wanted us to fantasize about Prince Philip calling DMX racial slur in the afterlife.
— KRS-Two (@PBS_Impulse9) April 9, 2021
Some other social media users, meanwhile, rushed to Washington’s defence suggesting that her tweet might have been an oversight. Many joked that her account may have been hacked. The 44-year-old hasn’t yet publicly responded to the controversy her tweet has stirred.