'Trying To Hold On to What's Best in Us': Kerry Washington's Newest Audible Project Is Timely and Timeless

The Prophecy, a supernatural thriller starring the actress and producer, reframes Bible stories within a modern-day landscape, challenging listeners to consider today's hard times.

These days, for parents wedged between concurrent global health crises, political upheaval, ballooning nationwide violence, and imminent climate dangers, getting through a workweek can feel more like clawing through an apocalypse of sorts. Throw in a few tantrums or soiled diapers and arriving at the weekend can feel like arriving at existential crossroads—and surely many of us have.

For acclaimed actress and producer Kerry Washington, whose art has always pushed audiences to examine the most complicated parts of their lives, challenging times call for challenging questions. Through a collaboration between Audible and her company, Simpson Street, Washington is producing three podcasts that explore complex modern-day issues.

The first release on July 28 is The Prophecy, an eight-episode thriller written by Randy McKinnon that asks, "What if the stories that we've been reading about in the Bible for hundreds of years weren't fables or tales about things that have happened in the past? What if these were stories about things that were going to happen in the future and what if that future was now?" Washington said in an interview with Kindred by Parents.

According to her, the answers to those questions are "timeless." Washington says she was drawn to the story, in part, because of how relevant it felt.

"These are stories about humanity, about right and wrong, about trying to hold on to what's best in us, and elevate ourselves to meet the best version of us," says Washington. "I don't think there's an expiration date on those ideas—on the challenge to fight evil and reach for good, to love each other, to look out for each other, and to hook into faith to survive really challenging times. And these are, I think, for a lot of people in real life, challenging times."

In a first chapter, dubbed "Mary," Washington plays Dr. Virginia Edwards, a pregnant researcher who worked on the Flint, Michigan water disaster. She appears at Agent Scott Thomas' (Laurence Fishburne) office at a secret government location with a warning from the Bible: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness," she says. The podcast also features the voices of David Oyelowo, Daniel Dae Kim, Asa Butterfield, and others.

In real life, Washington is a mom who has championed LGBTQIA+ and women's rights and loudly advocated for political change. Naturally, she plays a mother who is issuing a warning.

"I think every parent feels the weight and pressure of wanting to protect your little one—the responsibility of wanting to make sure that the world is a safe place, as safe as possible, for your child. I think having this child—exploring the idea that this child could be the Messiah—just really elevates that idea and reminds us of how precious children are," says Washington.

For parents who are witnessing turmoil in their own real lives, toeing the line between protecting and informing their children is a crucial, daunting task. Though Washington says that she doesn't have the perfect advice for them, she believes that children should know they're not facing these hard times alone.

"Knowing that people have been struggling with the ideas of good and evil since the beginning of time is helpful," she says. "And just to know that it's not easy, but this is not the first time in humanity where people are struggling and things feel really, really challenging and it won't be the last. Making sure that we figure out how to love each other, and love ourselves, and do good, and be as good as possible to ourselves and each other, I think, is the task at hand."

And, sometimes, doing good simply looks like uplifting others. All of Washington's upcoming projects, from her YouTube series Street You Grew Up On to an upcoming show on Hulu called Reasonable Doubt, amplify marginalized voices and the stories they tell.

"For me, being a woman, being a person of color—being a Black woman, in particular—there have been times throughout my career where I have felt like the accessory to somebody else's story, when, in my life, I'm the central character in the story of my life. I'm the hero of the journey of my life," says Washington. "Everybody deserves to see themselves at the center of a story, but also because we're better as a human community when we also are able to compassionately step into other people's stories."

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