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Exclusive: Isaiah Washington Talks About His Journey To Self-Awareness

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What do you do when your have been ostracized, gossiped about and basically maligned? Do you give up and go away? Do you throw up your hands in submission and fade into obscurity? Isaiah Washington did none of these. In fact after speaking with him I have never been more aware of an individual carving and defining their worth and identity.

We all know where we were the moment we heard that Isaiah was accused of fighting on set and shouting a slur. We all knew that this could bring no good to the end result, particularly when it became food for the tabloids. It changed a man’s livelihood and career.

In his new book A Man From Another Land,” Isaiah sets the record straight on his lifetime quest for awareness and identification.

Here is an excerpt:

“I was in big trouble. I was now considered a monster. Everywhere I went; my car was trailed by photographers. I was eviscerated daily and at the same time could feel the hatred inside of my own organs. In a strange way evisceration started to feel humane.” It was in those moments that out death in a public senses Isaiah came to existence in the human sense.”

E8: You speak about your journey to self awareness. You write what the trip to Sierra Leone inspired in you. You wanted to see the beauty. Was there a moment that was paramount to your awareness?

Isaiah: “Yes. My interest in reconnecting to Africa and seeking spiritual awareness has been a 30 year journey for me. And I’m still working at self realization. As I explain in the book, my dream (the “Rerun”) was affirmed on May 28, 2006, the day of my induction as Chief Gondobay Manga n Sierra Leone.  That day, primarily, confirmed my purpose in life.”

He  is a huge supporter of awareness and furthering your education when, I asked him what the one thing that African Americans spend too little time doing he answered, “Reading.

We delved into the topic further when I questioned whether we as a people were just becoming superficial. Isaiah in directness and sincerity pointed out “The African American community is a extremely unique one. As W.E.B. Du Bois cited years ago. “The Negro suffers from’ doubleness in America.”

I still see that what is perceived as “superficial” is just another form of a survival tactic coupled with fetish and media driven desires.”

E8: We have a whole generation lost on the bling and not the truth. How do we get them back?

Isaiah:“Turn off the TV and talk to each other. At the core there are still very different America’s. One Caucasian. One African. One Asian and One Latino. There are African Americans still calling themselves Afro-American and Black. Again, confirming that the African American community is not a monolith and the division within our own community is growing or regressing back to the 1940’s in my opinion.”

Mr Washington  is dedicated to commitment of educating our people with the knowledge of where the ancestors come from. He believes that once we claim that awareness that we will better ourselves because we know that we can.

E8: Louis Gossett Jr. told me in December that we as young people spend too little looking to our elders? Have we become a people who are losing the regard for our elders?

Isaiah: “Louis Gossett, Jr. is my elder and I will agree with him. I think in  this current economic climate we ALL have lost kind regard for many things.  Either real or perceived, that’s what I feel and believe at this time.

E8: Have our elders lost their true sense of responsibility?

Isaiah: “This is why I agreed to write my story. If we can all agree that Africa is the cradle of humanity. Then in my opinion, Africa is the “oldest elder” responsible for ALL of us. So, why are we not listening to its cry for help and seeking its wealth of knowledge and resources to get us ALL back on track?

E8: Hollywood is not a place that encourages truth and awareness how do you deal with that?

Isaiah:I have never been a part of Hollywood per se. And yes, I have had many opportunities to change perceptions in roles that enabled me to do so, but I have also been relegated to contribute to “Hollywood’s” idea of the African  American experience as well. In hind sight, I will have to admit that I’ve  always done what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it in my quest for  “truth and awareness” in my work. And I am living proof that, although intriguing, seeking “truth and awareness” in Hollywood is never easily won or popular. Hollywood has a very bad habit of putting artist in cute little boxes and when the artist does not fit, grows, or changes course, Hollywood burns the box and even profits from the fire. I think it’s high time for an evolutionary process on all levels and within all mediums. Those who refuse to evolve or change will die off just like the dinosaurs. Having said that, I foresee making films all over the world using only the good things I’ve learned from Hollywood.  So, that’s how I’m dealing with it.”

E8: How do we affect the positivity in our world and what should we do?

Isaiah: “Be positive.”

E8: What do you want the Elev8 readers to know?

Isaiah: “I want them to know that I could not be more happy knowing that this  “offering” called “A MAN FROM ANOTHER LAND” will be read by them.I want the readers to love themselves enough to say “NO” to fear and  whatever else they think is hurting them, holding them back or keeping them  down. I want them to say “Yes” to love, then spread that love!”

E8: You have been challenged throughout your life and career. Is there any challenge you would like to pose?

Isaiah: “Take the African Ancestry DNA test and dare to reconnect to a people in Africa, support those in need in Africa and watch their lives be changed  forever! (www.africanancestry.com).”

Mr. Washington has a strong marriage, strong identity and charitable heart. If these are the things that we truly judge someone by than why isn’t he being judged by  that standard?

Below  is a clip in which Isaiah discusses the new technology.

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on twitter here.}

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