Denzel Washington is bigger than an actor. He is a leader. He is an inspiration. He is a voice for those who need one.
It's a scary time for most people in this country right now. It's bigger than the need to see more minority actors on television and in film. People are downright scared about the future of their most basic rights.
How do we get through it?
Well, for one, with speeches and support from people like Washington, who inspire us and continue to encourage us to get up and fight.
He won Best Actor for his role in Fences at the NAACP Awards last night, and instead of talking about himself, his role and the other cliché lines we get from these award shows, Washington chose to speak about everyone else.
"August Wilson is one of the greatest playwrights in the history of American or world theater. It is a privilege, an honor, a responsibility, a duty and a joy to bring his brilliance to the screen. I am particularly proud and happy about the young filmmakers, actors, singers, writers, producers that are coming up behind my generation. In particular, Barry Jenkins. Young people understand. This young man made 10, 15, 20 short films before he got the opportunity to make Moonlight. So never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It's not easy. If it was easy, there'd be no Kerry Washington. If it was easy, there'd be no Taraji P. Henson. If it were easy, there'd be no Octavia Spencer. But not only that, if it were easy, there'd be no Viola Davis."
He named other actors, including himself, then added, "Keep working. Keep striving. Never give up. Fall down seven times, get up eight... Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work."
I'm taping this speech on my refrigerator, and every time I feel down, I'll be rereading it. Here's to standing up no matter the struggle.
Watch Washington's speech below.
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