Twitter Goes HAM for Actor Bae, John David Washington



On Thursday afternoon, it seemed as if the 40-and-under ladies of Twitter had made a shocking discovery. As it would turn out, everybody’s mama’s celebrity crush had created a “sequel” of sorts for a new generation of fans.

Or, to put it plainly: Heartthrob Denzel Washington has a grown-ass son. And he is finnnnnne, just like his daddy!

John David Washington, 31, is an actor who appeared alongside Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the HBO comedy series Ballers, which recently wrapped its first season. The show claimed the network’s best ratings for a comedy series in a decade, according to the New York Daily News.


John David Washington played Ricky Jerret, a flashy and troublesome receiver with a magnetic personality. Despite Washington’s scene-stealing performances, somehow the show came (in June) and went (in August) without most of the audience realizing he was Hollywood royalty, despite’s announcement in a headline in October 2013 when J.D. joined the Ballers cast: “Denzel Washington’s Son John David Washington Lands First Major Acting Role.”

I guess most viewers just weren’t paying attention to that ... or that the younger Washington sounds (often, but not always), looks and moves like his father. In fairness, this isn’t the same as the O’Shea Jackson (aka Ice Cube) situation, where father and son are practically identical. Depending on the angle, Washington looks more like his mom, Pauletta Washington, who has been married to Denzel since 1983. But still.

Ballers isn’t Washington’s first introduction to Hollywood. In 1992 he appeared in Malcolm X, which starred his father, who deserved the best actor Academy Award (he was nominated but didn’t win) for his turn as the slain civil rights leader. The younger Washington was credited as a “student in Harlem classroom” on IMDb, i.e., one of the kids who pop up from their chairs to yell, “I’m Malcolm X!” (He’s the first kid to say it.) Washington was also a co-producer for 2010’s The Book of Eli, which also starred his dad.

So, OK, some folks were a little late, but that’s probably not by accident. The younger Washington, who attended Morehouse College on a football scholarship and had a brief stint in the NFL, has a history of declining any attention that may come his way because of his famous father.

“Since I’ve known him, he has shunned away from media attention,” the younger Washington’s former football coach told ESPN in 2003. “He doesn’t want to get attention that the other guys on the team are not getting just because of his father. John David is a very humble young man from everything I’ve seen.”


Humble and apparently smart, too. Sure, Washington would have garnered more media—traditional and social—attention on Ballers by coasting off his father’s name, but he would also have been relentlessly compared with him, too. While I’m sure Washington wouldn’t hesitate to utilize his dad, and mom—who met her husband when they both performed in an off-Broadway play—for advice or introductions, I respect the younger Washington a little more for showcasing his talent instead of name-dropping his biological affiliations to get our attention.

Read full article on The Root 

HBO's 'Southern Rites' Screening in NYC

John Legend at the NYC "Southern Rites" screening (photo by Jordan Kleinmann) In 2009, New York-based photographer Gillian Laub ventured into two small counties in southeast Georgia to document the area’s still-segregated high school proms. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because the segregated prom story gained national attention in The New York Times.) Two years later, Laub returned to Georgia to document the town’s racial progress, including the election campaign of an African-American sheriff.

While Laub was in town, a Black 22-year-old man was fatally shot by a white man, dividing locals along their well-worn racial lines.

HBO’s new documentary, Southern Rites, directed by Laub and executive-produced by John Legend, delves deep into the complicated racial tensions still beleaguering the Southern town.

“I seriously felt like these were stories that just needed to be told, and the more [the community] pushed me away, the more I realized how important and necessary it is to get out in the world and be talked about,” Laub said on Monday evening at a New York screening.

In 2011, Norman Neesmith’s great-niece, who was living with her uncle, invited Justin Patterson and his younger brother to their house. Neesmith woke up, saw the men in his home and grabbed his gun. He demanded the two explain why they were there. As the brothers attempted to run out the back door, Neesmith fired his gun, wounding Patterson, who died in a nearby field.

The twist? Neesmith’s niece is black.

“There was a killing of a young, unarmed black boy that wasn’t being reported on,” said Laub. “ I couldn’t handle the injustice. I couldn’t handle it.”

Gillian Laub at HBO's screening for "Southern Rites". (Photo by Jordan Kleinmann)

Determined to expose the truth about this tragedy, Laub traded her tripod for a video camera and began teaching herself the basics of filmmaking. Using her newfound skills, she thoroughly examined the shooting, aftermath, and trial in the slaying of Patterson.

“This film doesn’t give easy, tidy answers,” Laub said.

That it doesn’t. As more and more layers come to light, viewers quickly see that the problems in the town run deeper than just skin color—not everything is black and white.

Legend, also at the screening, thought that the documentary could spark new conversations in today’s racially charged environment. “When we talk about ‘Black Lives Matter,’ this film is an embodiment of that,” Legend said, “because it really shows the impact that killing a young Black man has on the family, on the community, and it really does matter.”

Don’t miss Southern Rites, which premieres Monday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

HBO's 'Southern Rites': A Must See

HBO 'Southern Rites', (Image courtesy of I remember the big New York Times story in 2009 about a small town in Georgia who had segregated proms—yes, in 2009. Though the local schools integrated in 1971—17 Years after Brown vs. Brown of Education, the landmark case which denounced the idea of “separate but equal”—the proms remained white and black only, respectively. (Although white students were allowed to attend the Black prom.) The reason for the separation, which students interviewed by The Times seemed to be largely against? Tradition.


I was late to the party, learning that this was still going on in 2011. Nearly a decade earlier, photographer Gillian Laub was commissioned by Time Magazine to document the one-race only proms. In 2009, her photographs were published in the Times, which made the proms a national topic and finally nudged the town of Montgomery County to integrate in 2010.

Laub returned to the town in 2011 with a film crew to document the complicated race relations, racism and fear that persists there. The result, HBO’s latest documentary, “Southern Rites”, which is executive produced by singer/songwriter John Legend. (Laub also has a book documenting this subject with the same name.)

Laub showed up in Mount Vernon, Georgia for the high school festivities, but found so much more when she arrived. The first Black police chief was on a campaign to become Sheriff, and a young Black man was killed by a white man, after the man discovered him in his house at the invitation of the man’s (Black) niece. The town, unsurprisingly, was divided among racial lines.

“This is a story that needs to be told,” said Laub. “This film is about giving a voice to the people of Montgomery and Toombs counties. This is their narrative. “

Check out the trailer for “Southern Rites” below:




Southern Rites airs on HBO on May 18 at 9 PM. For additional information about Southern Rites, visit: HERE