Hollywood often seems to be one giant “echo chamber” of stale ideas. It can be very easy to dismiss every well-known actor as a liberal shill — but once in a while, an A-list name says something surprisingly wise.
That’s exactly what Denzel Washington did not long ago. The Academy Award winner was cornered by a reporter at a press event for the film “Fences,” but he refused to parrot the expected liberal talking points.
“Just wondering who you wound up supporting in the election and why?” demanded journalist Nicholas Ballasy while on the red carpet.
Washington tried to direct the conversation back to the movie he was there to promote, but the reporter persisted. Denzel’s answer was blunt and to the point.
“None of your business!” he stated, clearly annoyed at the question.
Instead of getting the message, the reporter continued to press the actor for his views on politics. “What issue do you hope president-elect Trump tackles? What’s number one, in your mind, with the new administration?”
The famous “Glory” and “Training Day” star gave a very smart response. “I don’t know,” he said. “You know, I’d have to be more informed to just say off the top of my head the number one issue.”
That honest answer seemed to be an indirect jab at the countless celebrities who run their mouths on political issues, while knowing almost nothing about the complex topics.
Ballasy wasn’t done, however. The brash reporter pressed Washington on race. “Right now, under President Obama, over the last eight years, in your mind… have race relations improved under his leadership?”
Many other Hollywood figures would have given the stock answer, and applauded Obama as the savior of black Americans and race relations in general. Denzel took a different approach.
“Race relationships have to do with race relationships,” the actor explained, implying that the president had little to do with the topic.
“You’re white, or whatever you are, and I’m black, or whatever I am — we’re standing here talking now,” Washington continued. “That’s how we get things done.”
He continued to make his point. “You can’t legislate love. The president of the United States can’t legislate us into liking each other,” he elaborated. “We have to step forward and ask questions about each other and engage.”
“There’s no law that says, oh because I’m president, you all gotta get along now,” the actor explained. “So it’s up to us.”
Although the exchange between Washington and the reporter occurred several months ago, the message communicated by the actor is still extremely relevant.
Unlike so many in Tinseltown, Washington has apparently realized that bloviating about political candidates or foreign policy is not the job of an actor.
Denzel’s humble approach of admitting that he’s not a policy expert and needs to be more informed before commenting on every issue is incredibly refreshing — and so is his answer about Obama and race.
It’s all too common to see a political figure like Obama elevated into the savior of the country. The 44th president was routinely held up by liberals as some sort of post-racial Messiah… but as Washington wisely reminded us, real progress in America happens at the personal level, with a handshake and a conversation.
Political figures or big state solutions won’t solve the country’s issues. Individual Americans, however, are the ones who can move the country forward … and it looks like at least one Hollywood figure finally sees this fact.
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