Denzel Washington Refuses to Turn Hollywood

Photo Credit: Paul Rudman
Photo Credit: Paul Rudman

By: Taren Vaughan

Denzel Washington is one of the most acclaimed Black actors in Hollywood. The versatility that he has as an actor, along with his good looks, have gotten Denzel Washington much praise in the industry. And he has been said to be one of the Black actors that has been instrumental in paving the way for the younger talent that is now trying to make their names just as known in the acting world. As for his career, it has been an extremely successful one as Denzel Washington became the first African American actor to bring home an Academy Award for the lead role that he took on as a crooked cop in the movie Training Day. Long after winning his Oscar back in 2001, Denzel Washington has continued on with his career and starred in the film Flight, where he played a heroic airline pilot who struggled with alcohol and drugs. Talking with The Guardian, Denzel spoke on how he prepared himself for his role in the movie and went on to talk about his relationships, or lack there of, with other Black actors and actresses in Hollywood.

As it is probably thought that many African American actors and actresses carry on off screen friendships with each other because there are so few of them, Denzel Washington says that that does not apply to him as he says the friends that he has are not actors:

“But actually, even within the industry, I don’t have any actor friends. My friends are old friends. One’s an ex-music guy, the other’s a restaurant owner and the other’s an ex-pro ballplayer.”

And Denzel says that could be because he is not one to suck up to people just so that he can have them in his circle:

“Because I don’t make friends! Maybe I’m not a butt-kisser, maybe I’m not a schmoozer. I’m not about to go to a party to try to get a job. And then when you have children, the other friends become other parents. We’d coach baseball or basketball. My wife and I were raised right. I don’t want movie-star friends.”

Denzel Washington has been in the acting game for some years now. And he says that when he first got onto the scene, the number of Black actors and actresses were limited so he didn’t have too many friends to choose from at that moment in time. And yet while Denzel hasn’t formed friendships with any other African Americans in acting, there aren’t any Caucasian ones that he would call his buddies either:

“Being African American, there were no big movie stars to hang out with anyway, not when I was starting out, they were just the third guy from the back! For whatever reason, I never befriended any white actors.”

While Denzel Washington doesn’t make it a point to get close with other actors in the game, he also seems to have no interest in celebrity life period:

“What’s a celebrity anyway? Paris Hilton’s a celebrity. I’m just a working actor.”

There is no doubt that Denzel Washington is heavily applauded for his incredible talent by his peers in acting arena yet apparently that doesn’t mean that those who are showing him love are on his friends list. And one thing for sure is that he won’t be turning Hollywood regardless of the celebrity status that he has achieved.


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