The seasoned actor recently took time out to cover GQ’s October Style Playbook while filming his forty-second movie 2 Guns in New Orleans.
And while the designer suits (Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, etc.) in the photo spread speak volumes, Washington had a few words of his own about his first stage memory, his friendship with Whitney Houston and advice to GQ’s African-American readers.
On his first memory of being onstage…
“I was around 7, 8, whatever I was. We did a talent show at the Boys Club. Me and another guy, Wayne Bridges—God rest his soul—he’s the father of Chris Bridges, Ludacris. We decided to be the Beatles. So we went to John’s Bargain Store and bought fake guitars and wigs and did ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’”
On remembering Whitney Houston…
“Whitney was my girl, and she had done so well in recovery. And that is the toughest part about addiction. […] Whitney was such a sweet, sweet girl and really just a humble girl. You know, they made her this thing. She had a voice, obviously, but they packaged her into this whole whatever, but she was really just this humble, sweet girl. Me and Lenny [Kravitz], we were talking about her yesterday, and it’s more of an example to me or the rest of us to keep it together. I was listening to her song ‘I Look to You.’ It’s prophetic. Maybe I’m speaking out of line. Maybe she thought she could have one. And then the next thing you know, her body was betraying her. She didn’t know that her body was aging quickly. She couldn’t take it. Your body can only take so much. Some people survive [Hollywood and fame], and some people don’t.
His words to African-Americans…
“Take responsibility. One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked. Take responsibility. Look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’ There is opportunity; you can make it. Whatever it is that you choose, be the best at it. You have an African-American president. You can do it. But take responsibility. Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding. I’m not telling you what religion to be, but work on your spirit. You know, mind, body, and spirit. Imagine—work the brain muscle. Keep the body in tune—it’s your temple. All things in moderation. Continue to search. That’s the best part of life for me—continue to try to be the best man.”
Check out more pictures after the jump and read the full interview over at GQ!
Photographs by Nathaniel Goldberg