Who is Jackie Washington? A hilarious diva and a cult classic.

Every July 15th, fans of Jackie Washington come together to wish each other a Happy Jackie Washington Day. But, if you’re wondering who she is, then here’s what you should know. 

Jackie Washington is a fictional pop diva played by the “Mother of Black Hollywood”, Jenifer Lewis, in the 1999 original Lifetime mockumentary/comedy Jackie’s Back!. The film has become a cult classic, particularly in the Black LGBTQ community. So, on July 15th, we join together to pay homage to the divalicious Jackie Washington the same way her hometown of Kinloch, Missouri does every year. 

In the film, directed by Robert Townsend, Jackie Washington decides to stage a comeback after years of obscurity in the music business. She enlists filmmaker Edward Whatsett St. John (Tim Curry) to document her experiences leading up to her comeback concert. Through numerous interviews with other people from her life, including her disgruntled sister, Nurse Ethyl Washington Rue Owens (Whoopi Goldberg), and a series of farcical cameos from legendary celebrities, such as Diahann Carrol, Liza Minelli, Melissa Etheridge, Dolly Parton, Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell, and Chris Rock, we learn a lot about people’s relationships with the loveably problematic diva. 

Fans started Tweeting as early as last week to get other fans prepared for the day. “Attn black gays: jackie washington day is three business days away. Get your houses in order and your wigs ready,” Tweeted one fan who also tagged Jenifer Lewis. 

Others began posting memes, quotes and videos as early as this morning to commemorate the day. “Happy Jackie Washington Day! Be safe out here in these streets,” said one fan, posting a hilarious scene from the film where Jackie Washington’s sister is interviewed. 


Now that you know what Jackie Washington Day is, check out the trailer below. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be streaming currently, but a quick Google search showed me that it was available on DVD at Amazon

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.

Comments are closed.