John David Washington Says He’s Learned To Embrace The ‘Inescapable’ Comparisons To His Father Denzel Washington
John David Washington says he has made peace with being connected to his father’s name and legacy!
During a recent interview with Essence, John David Washington revealed that though he spent many years trying to form his own identity separate from that of his father’s, he soon realized that being tied to Denzel Washington was inevitable no matter what career path he chose.
Despite always having a great interest in acting, John David Washington says he intentionally pursued football at his alma mater Morehouse College and later in the UFL, then the NFL in an attempt to establish his own name and identity. He explained,
“It gave me an identity. What motivated it, really, is independence – my own name. It was being able to carry my own weight in my life, even though I was hiding what I really wanted to do.”
Washington says “it was intimidating” being the son of two talented individuals – one of whom is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. He expressed,
“My mother is an extremely talented artist, and my father is one of the greatest of all time. He’s my favorite actor. When we’re in the comforts of our own home and with the family, I felt comfortable. But then when I get to the outside world, it didn’t seem as simple to just pursue it.”
“I felt football would change that narrative when they saw me play.. I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I think my freshman year. I had a great game and [read] ‘Denzel’s son runs for this many yards and this many touchdowns. I realized then it was inescapable.”
In 2013, Washington suffered a rupture in his Achilles’ tendon, which led him to finally embrace his true passion – professional acting – and “learned what happiness really is.”
“I could have the best game, career – the headline is always going to be what it is. So, to try to prove something to somebody is a fool’s errand.”
Since breaking out into the acting world, John David Washington has starred in acting credits like BlacKKKlansman, Malcolm & Marie, TENET, and Amsterdam. He is currently making his Broadway debut and starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Danielle Brooks in the revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
When asked if he ever sees his name surpassing his father’s, Washington simply replies, “Nah.”
“I don’t see it as a reality for me. He’s larger than life. So no, I don’t think of it that way. I can’t.”
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