Rolling Out

Kerry Washington and Tracy McMillan’s advice for healing Black families

The best-selling writer and the actor both agree that the process of healing from prison will take time for everyone

Father’s Day can bring about many emotions for various people, including the Black community. There are about half a million Black fathers who are incarcerated, according to a February 2023 study from Florida Atlantic University — a half a million more homes who would be reminded of this painful reality on the upcoming holiday.

Black fathers reintegrating into civilian life from prison can be a challenging transition. For Tracy McMillan, she turned this reality into a source of humor through her Hulu show, “UnPrisoned.”

Season 2 of the show, which stars Kerry Washington, premiered on June 13 at the American Black Film Festival in Miami. Before the premiere, rolling out spoke with Washington and McMillan about the reality many families face and their show.

YouTube video

What advice do you have for Black mothers who have their Black father figures returning home from prison soon?

Tracy McMillan: I would say you have to be really patient.

You have to hold a space because any healing like this takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have a lot of faith. You have to connect it with the highest frequency within yourself to allow that person to try to find their way as well.

Allow them to do that, instead of trying to swoop in there and fix something.

Kerry Washington: That was powerful.

Honor the journey. There’s no end point where you just are a great mother or father and that’s it.

It’s really a complete, ever-unfolding process of learning to be in relationships. Honor where you are. That can be a beginning, wherever you are, into acceptance with love — if you can.

Tracy McMillan: Put love on it. Put love on the journey.

Kerry Washington: Always put love on it. It just tastes better with the love.

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