Feature

Washington’s message to dads

Denzel Washington wants African-American fathers to raise their game.

Denzel Washington wants African-American fathers to raise their game, said Michael Hainey in GQ. “One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters,” the actor says. “And you can’t blame that on ‘the man’ or getting frisked. [Fathers need to] look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’” Washington’s relationship with his own dad, a Pentecostal preacher, deteriorated after his parents split when he was 14 years old. “I was away in private school. And my mother came and said, ‘Go get your keys, we don’t live in our house no more.’” He rarely saw his father after the separation. “I was in school. So 70 percent of the year, I was away. In the summer, I wasn’t looking to track him down. I was ready to hit the streets.” When he did visit his father, they had little in common. “The things I did, like sports, he wasn’t really [interested in]. Not to say that I didn’t love him like a dad. But we didn’t play ball, those type of things.” His father died in 1991, while Washington was filming Malcolm X. “I never shed a tear for my father,” he says. “I never did all through the funeral and all that. There was no connection.”

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