A-list role models for up and coming young actors of color may be few. But Black Hollywood has a mentor in veteran two-time Academy and Tony Award winner, Denzel Washington.
Days ago, footage of native New Yorker, Denzel, hit the web showing him taking time out during a break between performances in Broadway’s A Raisin in the Sun to deliver words of hope and encouragement to young thespians of color in NYC. The video was shared on Facebook by singer-actor Tyrese Gibson.
“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already,” Washington said. “So the desire you have, that itch that you have to be whatever it is you want to be … that itch, that desire for good is God’s proof to you sent already to indicate that it’s yours. You already have it. Claim it.”
A long time national spokesman for the Boys and Girls Club, Denzel is known for regularly showing his charitable side. With a history in NY’s acting scene that goes back to drama roots at Fordham University in the 1970’s, his Denzel Washington Endowed Scholarship was established at Fordham to award undergraduate students studying theatre. In 2005, he gave another memorable speech to a group of theater students at his alma mater during a run in Broadway’s revival of Julius Caesar. "You can’t learn how to act well in film,” he says. “That’s what I am doing back on Broadway, trying to get better."
Today, Washington’s latest Broadway run playing Walter Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun co-stars LaTanya Richardson, Anika Noni Rose, and Sophie Okonedo. Concluding performances on June 15th, Denzel will return to the big screen later this year in the film adaptation of The Equalizer being released September 26. “Dreams without goals are just dreams,” Denzel told the crowd of students. “I’ve been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can’t take it with me and neither can you. So it’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have. Use it, share it, that’s what counts.”