The Grey's Anatomy star opened up about the negative and sometimes racist comments she receives about her character, Dr. Maggie Pierce. Despite the hate, she shared with ET for our Unfiltered series that she's been able to separate herself from the hurtful words.
"I think I've been really lucky not to have myself as Kelly McCreary, conflated with Maggie Pierce. Some of the feedback about Maggie can be, can sound racist, frankly," McCreary said. "Sometimes I wonder if there's a particular aggression toward her because there is a great deal of aggression toward black women, just generally in the world. You know, there's extra levels of misogyny and racism that come into play when you're a black woman."
McCreary has learned to rise above the negativity and tackle it with compassion instead.
"On the other hand, you know, horrible, horrible things have been said about and to some of my other cast mates on the show. Even if they are just being mean because they're passionate about the show, that's real meanness," she continued. "Can't really engage with it. I try to have some compassion for whatever fear or pain or suffering that person must be going through to, you know, then turn around and project it outwardly towards others."
Aside from the trolling, the newlywed, who tied the knot to director Pete Chatmon in May, got emotional as she explained social media helped her connect with black women who support her and each other.
"The flip side of the trolling, this is what I really care about -- I can't tell you how many young black women, girls, older black women find me online or they see me in person and they have such, there's just this, you can just feel there's like, hah, there's like a kinship and they feel so seen, just by having me doing what I'm doing."
McCreary, who works with empowering organizations such as When We All Vote and Time's Up, emphasizes the importance of making an impact on her community.
"Listen, the nerds out there, the awkward black girls out there, the curly haired black girls, the ones who really struggle in their relationships, when they let me know that they feel seen by something that Maggie Pierce is doing or something that I'm doing in the world I feel like the rest is nonsense," McCreary said. "I know I'm on the right track. I know that we're doing, we being what we're doing on Grey's Anatomy and we being organizations that I partner with, we're doing the right stuff out there."
Season 16 of Grey's Anatomy premieres on ABC tonight, Sept. 26.
Watch McCreary's full interview in the video above, and catch up on more episodes of Unfiltered, below: