Denzel Washington to grads: Put God first

Two-time Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington talked about the importance of his faith when he addressed graduating students at Dillard University in New Orleans recently.

The key point of his 11-minute address were these five words, delivering emphatically: “Put God first in everything.”

“Everything you see in me … everything I have is by the grace of God, Washington said. “It’s a gift.”
Washington told a story about how he was flunking out of college with a 1.7 grade point average when he met a woman in his mother’s beauty parlor.

The woman was staring at Washington and finally asked for pen to write down a prophecy.
What she wrote, Washington said, is this: “You are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.”
At the time, Washington could not imagine how that could come true.

The secret, he said, was his faith.

“I’ve kept God in my life and it kept me humble,” he said. “I didn’t always stick with him but he always stuck with me. So stick with him in everything you do.”

He added: “If you think you want to do what you think I’ve done, then do what I’ve done. And stick with God.”


Washington’s father was an ordained Pentecostal minister.


Dillard University is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Last year’s commencement speaker was First Lady Michelle Obama.
Here’s a video of his 11-minute talk.



— Bonnie Gross

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