Khandi Alexander: The Speech Heard By Black Women Around The World

Even though you can catch veteran actress Khandi Alexander on ABC’s megahit, Scandal, she has also starred in such TV shows like CSI: Miami, HBO’s gritty drama hit, The Corner and the critically-acclaimed post-Hurricane Katrina drama Treme.

But it was during the “Scandal” season finale, that Khandi spoke to a truth that far too many black women understand and can relate to.

While being detained for conspiring to kill the president-elect, Olivia’s mom, Maya (played by Khandi Alexander), addresses her ex-husband, Eli, whom she accurately suspects is behind her arrest.

Maya pleads her case to Eli, who’s behind a one-way window, insisting that she’s in Washington, D.C. to help protect their daughter.

She comes to the realization that Eli thinks he doesn’t need her help. Every second of her monologue is a painful reminder of how tragically under-appreciated, devalued and disrespected black women are by everyone, including black men:

“Damn shame. I tell you… being a black woman. Be strong, they say. Support your man, raise your man, think like a man. Well damn, I gotta do all that? Who’s out here working for me, carrying my burden, building me up when I get down? Nobody. Black women out here trying to save everybody and what do we get? Swagger jacked by white girls wearing cornrows and bamboo earrings. Ain’t that a bitch? But we still try. Try to help all y’all. Even when we get nothing. Is that admirable or ridiculous? I don’t know.”

The scene was shared on “Scandal’s” Facebook page and it’s been viewed over 3 million times. Many people, from facebook, to twitter, and instagram commented about how much Maya’s monologue resonates with them.

(Photo credit: Shadowandact.com)

“I’ve been having a ball,” Alexander said of being on the show. “I’ve had a chance to meet everyone and hear them read. Everyone is from the theater, which is where I’m from. It’s a joy to be amongst such a wonderful cast.”

As for the “Scandal”-crazed fans, “I love that the fans really love this show. There’s so much excitement as well as support. I’m just thrilled to be a part of all of it,” Alexander said.

“I love the world I’ve been dropped into,” the New York City native said. “There are so many incredible storylines.”

But before all the TV shows, Alexander began her career as a dancer on Broadway. She also appeared in the original Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Dreamgirls. What are her fitness secrets?

Alexander started out on stage, as a dancer. She wanted to act, but she was concerned about her prospects. “I never saw a consistent through line of employment for black actresses,” she explains. “I was like, ‘How are they supporting themselves?’” But she found an example in actress Diana Sands. “I knew that she worked consistently in theater and occasionally had great roles in film and TV,” Alexander tells Als. “But I saw her consistency in theater, so that’s where I really focused.”

In between doing Broadway shows, Khandi forged a four-year-long creative collaboration with the multi-platinum songstress Whitney Houston. Their association culminated in Khandi choreographing Houston’s successful “I’m Your Baby Tonight” international concert tour. Khandi Alexander also served as choreographer for the 1992 American Music Awards.

Khandi’s no-nonsense flair, coupled with her fantastic build, helps make her a force to be reckoned with onscreen. She attributes her slim frame to always being in dancer shape.

Although it may not come easy, follow these three steps to be dancer-ready:
Do Cardio 4-5 Times A Week

You need to be a healthy body weight. If you aren’t already there, regular cardio can help. Doing cardio develops long, lean muscles. Even if you are at a healthy bodyweight, cardio is great for your heart.

Eat To Dance

The other component is making sure that your diet is healthy. Make sure that the majority of your diet consists of…