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Kerry Washington celebrates the 20th anniversary of her breakout role in 'Save the Last Dance'

ABC/Eric McCandless

Who knew Kerry Washington would become a household name after starring as Chenile in the classic 2001 film, Save the Last Dance?

The former Scandal star took to Instagram to reflect over her breakout role as a teen mom, in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary Tuesday.

“OH EM GEE!!!!! Save the Last Dance turns 20 years old today!” wrote Kerry, along with a throwback photo with  co-stars Sean Patrick Thomas, Julia Stiles, Vince Green and Garland Whitt on set.

“Playing Chenille changed my life,” Kerry continued. “I read that script and I felt like I KNEW her. At the time, I also knew the narrative that was being served in culture about who Black teen moms are. And I knew that if done right, this was an opportunity to transform some stereotyped thinking and make this young woman REAL And human. And deserving of love and attention.”

She added, “I loooooved being a part of this film This cast. This crew. So many ‘slammin’ memories!”

Thomas, who played Derek, shared his own celebratory post, along with two behind-the-scenes photos. “Never imaged the film would be as beloved as it is,” he wrote in the caption on Instagram.

Save the Last Dance follows the story of Stiles’ character, Sara, a white Midwestern ballet dancer who moves to Chicago to live with her estranged dad after her mother dies in a car accident. While there, Sara becomes an outcast at an all-Black high school before falling for Derek, who helps her rediscover her love for dance. Washington played Chenille, Derek’s sister, who became one of Sara’s best friends.

The film grossed more than $130 million worldwide, which led to a 2006 sequel starring ColumbusShort.

By Rachel George
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