In addition to his awe-inspiring career in Hollywood, Denzel Washington is known for actively fostering and nurturing relationships with young talent in the business with the hopes of them taking over the reigns.
In a recent sit-down with the New York Times, the Oscar-winning actor spoke on just this alongside a young and already accomplished actor whom Washington said he is now “passing the baton” to.
The star who the Training Day actor claimed is next in line to dominate in Hollywood with his backing is Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan.
The two discussed their careers in a feature titled “Passing the Torch: Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan” for the publication.
In it, the two shared their mutual admiration for one another, with Jordan starting out by explaining the awe he felt when he learned fans saw Washington’s influence in his work.
“When someone says you’re like your idol,” he said. “It’s like: ‘Really? You see that in me?’ I’d only done that one movie. But then I started using it as motivation. I wanted to pop up on Denzel’s radar. He’s the O.G. If I could get recognition from him, I know I’m going down the right path, you know?”
Validating his words, Washington added, “And here we are, Mike! Looks like it’s working out already!”
Later on in the interview, while the men spoke about mutually creating opportunities for people of color within the industry, Washington specifically highlighted that he now sees himself in the business of serving young people of color who want to join the ranks.
“The way I see it, I’m in the service business now,” he said. “I’m here to serve God, my family and young people of color in our business.”
He then proclaimed that he’s “passing the baton” to Jordan and only wants to see the cycle continue.
“That’s why I’m here! That’s why I’m still in the race,” he continued. “And I’m passing the baton. What a lot of people don’t know is: When you pass the baton, you keep running behind the other runner, you don’t just stop. I’m like, ‘Make the turn, bring it home!’ I like helping people, I want to see them do well.”
Read the full interview between the two, here.