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?