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GQ’ed: DENZEL WASHINGTON Shares His Thoughts On Whitney Houston, President Obama in GQ! [Part 3]

I think after this GQ interview, I fell in love with Denzel Washington. Not that I was never but I think with this interview, you see the man behind the movies. He reads his Bible everyday, he was to be the best at his craft, he loves his momma and he recognizes and acknowledges his flaws…

Gon’ Denzel!


Did he disappoint you?

I didn’t think of it that way. Everyone I grew up with didn’t have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman.

What do you see of your father in you?

I’m more like my mother. She is the toughest woman. She’s 88.

Did you bring any of your father into Malcolm X?

Absolutely. Preaching is preaching, be it Malcolm X or… I don’t want to generalize and say “the black church,” but there’s a certain style. And growing up with that, I understood it. Same could be said just for the fact that my mama owned a beauty shop. There was great drama in there. [laughs] I remember certain cadences in the way my father would set up certain things. And when I would hear Malcolm X, I would say, Oh, he sets it up the same way. It’s a rhythm. It’s almost music.

Tell me about your first job.

I was a paperboy. I was maybe 9. I faded on that quick. There’s no money in it. I was 11 or so when I started in the barbershop. That was great theater. Professional liars in a barbershop. There were a lot of father figures in there. I was there with grown men. You know, saying grown-men things. Listening to men talk and lie. I learned to hustle. If you came in, I looked at you like money. Okay, you’ve got good shoes? You might have a few dollars. I had a little side hustle where you brought your clothes on Saturday; I’d take them to the cleaners and deliver them at the end of the day. Fifty cents here, a dollar there. I was 13 and buying my own clothes. Working in that barbershop, learning how to tell stories…I learned how to act. [laughs] I miss it. I really dug that independence. My oldest daughter—I see her digging her independence. She doesn’t like me talking about it, but she’s working with Tarantino.

On Django Unchained?

Yeah. I can see myself in her.

That’s funny she’s with Tarantino, because you had that feud with him on Crimson Tide over what you called his racist dialogue he added to the script.

Isn’t that interesting how life goes? But I buried that hatchet. I sought him out ten years ago. I told him, “Look, I apologize.” You’ve just gotta let that go. You gonna walk around with that the rest of your life? He seemed relieved. And then here we are ten years later, and my daughter’s working with him. Life is something.

What did you feel when Whitney died?

Whitney was my girl, and she had done so well in recovery. And that is the toughest part about addiction.

Were you friends still?

Not “talk every month” friends, but I talked to her from time to time. And that was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one. You can’t go back to that one. Nobody beats that. I look at people—and I don’t think I’m speaking out of line—Sam Jackson, I’ve known for thirty-some-odd years, he was down at the bottom. And he came all the way back. And when he cleaned up, he never looked back. But he can’t have that beer, because it might lead to the tough thing.

Whitney was such a sweet, sweet girl and really just a humble girl. You know, they made her this thing. She had a voice, obviously, but they packaged her into this whole whatever, but she was really just this humble, sweet girl. Me and Lenny [Kravitz], we were talking about her yesterday, and it’s more of an example to me or the rest of us to keep it together. I was listening to her song “I Look to You.” It’s prophetic. Maybe I’m speaking out of line. Maybe she thought she could have one. And then the next thing you know, her body was betraying her. She didn’t know that her body was aging quickly. She couldn’t take it. Your body can only take so much. Some people survive [Hollywood and fame], and some people don’t.

How do you think Obama fits in now?

Well, the story’s not told yet. He’s in the beginning of the third quarter. I don’t know what his legacy is yet. He’s the first—that’s a part of it. Like Jackie Robinson. But it just wasn’t the first game; it was lasting the whole thing.

Would you ever go into politics?

No. I’m an independent. In some ways I’m liberal, and other ways I’m conservative. We get so locked in on “you have to be this or that.” It’s ridiculous. I’m not a liberal or a conservative completely. Who is? Or why do you have to be? You assess the pros, the cons, of both sides and you make an intelligent decision.

How did you feel about Obama endorsing same-sex marriage?

What did he say about it?

He said he was in favor of it. That he didn’t oppose it.

What does that mean? [laughs]

It’s the political way of saying, “I support it.”

You know, I think people have the right to believe what they want to believe. And people have the right to disagree with it.

If you had one thing to say to African-American readers of GQ, what would you say?

Take responsibility. One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked. Take responsibility. Look in the mirror and say, “What can I do better?” There is opportunity; you can make it. Whatever it is that you choose, be the best at it. You have an African-American president. You can do it. But take responsibility. Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding. I’m not telling you what religion to be, but work on your spirit. You know, mind, body, and spirit. Imagine—work the brain muscle. Keep the body in tune—it’s your temple. All things in moderation. Continue to search. That’s the best part of life for me—continue to try to be the best man.

Via GQ

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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