In 1989, my mother took me to an “R” rated movie. It may have been my first. She’s not a bad parent, just one operating under extraordinary circumstances. It was the opening weekend of Glory, my Dad was traveling for work and there was no baby sitter available. Mum said, “I got to see Denzel!” So off to theatre we went.
I was more into Barbie than boys, and I appropriately I knew nothing of men. But then Denzel Washington graced the screen and I understood Mum’s urgency to get to the show. I’d heard women in the beauty shop speak of him, excitedly describing him as, “That is a mayyyy-ann!!!” But my head was buried in a video game, a reflection of my disinterest. But watching Denzel’s perfect shirtless browness as he accepted a punishment at the whipping post and that singular tear that ran from his eye? The image was moving in real time across the screen, but slow motion in my mind. Just like that, I knew those ladies at the shop were on to something. At the tender age of 10, I had my first crush: Denzel.
Twenty some odd years later, he’s still at the top of my list, and if you’ve been blessed to peep his latest cover and photo spread in GQ where he’s still looking like a bag of money, I’m sure I don’t need to explain why. Denzel’s talking about reading his Bible daily, the upcoming elections and he’s looking fit as ever. He’s suited right by a crisp tailor, and that salt and pepper beard framing that infectious smile as he walks toward me — yes, me! — had me staring at my laptop screen stuck on stupid. It just doesn’t make any sense for one man to be that fine.
At 57, he’s working on his 42nd film, a rare feat in an industry where stars rise and fall, and come and go before we can even remember their name.
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