John David Washington reveals best advice he ever got from father Denzel

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

John David Washington’s acting career began with a Spike Lee joint way back in 1992, and it’s about to take a giant leap forward in a new Spike Lee joint to be released this year.

He was only 9 when he was a background actor in Malcolm X, Lee’s acclaimed biopic that starred his famous father, Denzel Washington. This summer, John David will play the title role in Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a drama about a real-life Colorado cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s.

John David Washington, a former NFL athlete who also stars in the HBO series Ballers, was in Las Vegas this week for CinemaCon, where he revealed to Yahoo Entertainment the best advice he ever got from his Oscar-winning father, Denzel Washington.

“[He told me to] study, you’re always learning,” Washington said [watch above]. “You gotta be a professional. So that’s what I’m always searching [for].

“This is a privilege, what we get to do. To be able to tell stories. It’s a luxury. So I have a business-like approach to it, the same way I had with football. But I embrace how much fun it is, and the people I get to meet and create with and learn from. I’m always learning. It’s a growing and evolving art, and you can only get better with age.”

Washington has certainly gotten better since that first bit part in Malcolm X, in which he appeared as a young child in a classroom.

“I was a background artiste,” he laughed. “But I worked my way up and got a couple lines. Blink and you’ll miss me, so don’t blink. But yeah, I delivered the heck of those lines, man!”

BlacKkKlansman will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May before opening in theaters Aug. 10.


Watch Superfly star Trevor Jackson explain his affinity for the rat tail:

Read more on Yahoo Entertainment: