Omari Hardwick makes it crystal clear, his success in Hollywood was not solely created on his own. Power’s leading man is transparent about how others have helped him along his journey. In a recent interview (at the American Black Film Festival Awards, with theJasmineBRAND.com’s @SmithWorldWide), Omari opens up about his relationship with Denzel Washington and his wife, along with why he feels mentorship is so essential. Peep a few excerpts below.
On Denzel inspiring him to be an actor:
He inspired every black actor your age, my age. It’s impossible to not be inspired by a man who looks like you who is able to cross over barriers that he was able to cross over.
On how important is it to have that mentor to say you can do it:
Denzel was instrumental in inspiring me, but it was his wife that really said you can do it, you can do you. He did what I would think a strong black man would do, which is I will sit back and watch whether you prove me you can do it. Let me watch you. I love him for that. His wife was very much what a mother would be.
On how he feels as a successful actor to pour back into someone else:
Denzel taught me very well. I figured out to sit back and observe first. Figure out the Derrick Luke’s, Nate Parker’s and Omari Hardwick’s you can help and how you want to help them. He helped all three of us differently. But all three of us were aided. I have kids that I mentor and I try to deal with them all differently. Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan are not the same. Phil Jackson dealt with them very differently. So Denzel has taught me that. He taught me shut up and listen, watch people.
On what part about his life’s purpose acting fulfills:
Beyond being psychotherapy for me and allowing me to remain sane and not lose my canoodles as an ex-athlete who doesn’t have the outlet anymore. Its call Omair in 42-years of living on this Earth I’m an artist who happened to be athletic as well. But I’m a poet. I grew up on Langston Hughes, Gil Scott Heron and equally Nas and Tupac.
I grew up on what my father and grandfather has taught. It got me to a place to be ok with Omari. So as an actor it’s a great opportunity for me to teach without having to go to the front of a school. People can sit and watch me for two hours and walk away I think I learning something new.
See the full interview below.