Denzel Washington Reveals Why He Refused A High Paying “Ni**er” Movie

Posted On : December 31, 2014

denzel side eye We all know that Denzel Washington takes his acting very seriously, so that’s what is most perplexing about the folks who actually tried to get Denzel to do what he refers to as a movie about “The nigger they couldn’t kill.” Who in the world would be so oblivious to think that this man would take part in such a film is beyond me, but it happened and Denzel told the story about it in the interview you’re about to see.

Long story short: In 1986 Denzel got offered, what was then a high paying salary for him of $600,000, to do a film that was very degrading to him as an African American man with dignity. He called up actor, Sidney Poitier, for advice about the role and then he ended up telling the producers where they could shove they’re movie (well he didn’t quite tell them like that, but you get where I’m coming from). Watch the video below, or else you can read part of what Denzel said happened here:

“I got a part in a movie in 1986. I call it the “N****r They Couldn’t Kill.” [The character] He raped a white woman; they tried to electrocute him but it didn’t work and he became a cult hero. Then they tried to hang him. There were some Jewish people in the audition room who said “it is funny.” And I said to them “yeah, it’s like you bring some Jewish people into a room and they think it is a shower but it is gas. And they said “right!” And I said “Right! That ain’t funny!” So to me it was not funny to put a rope around my MFing neck and I made a point….and the guy was like ‘who the hell is this lil’ n’ talking like this?’ So anyway…I called Sidney (Poitier) and told him “man they are offering me $600,000 to play the “N****r They Couldn’t Kill.” And he told me, “I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I will tell you this, the first, two, three or four films you do in this business will dictate how you are perceived.
He didn’t tell me what to do, I give him credit for that. So I turned it down and 6 months later I got Cry Freedom and got an Oscar nomination.”

Much respect to Denzel for not biting on the big payday as and up and coming actor and instead choosing self pride and integrity over everything.