The Kid Who Played ‘Young Denzel’ In “Mo Better Blues” Is A Grown Man Now & We Were Not Ready

Posted On : October 9, 2020
Zakee Howze, actor who played ‘young Bleek’ (Denzel Washington’s character) in “Mo Better Blues”

ILOSM family, many of us remember the classic Spike Lee joint, Mo’ Better Blues. It starred and co-starred several legends, including Denzel Washington, Spike, Wesley Snipes, and many more.

“Young Bleek” Then

“Mo Better Blues” cast: Denzel Washington (top left), Joie Lee (top right), and Zakee Howze (bottom center)

Speaking if Denzel’s character, “Bleek,” if you saw the film, then you probably remember the kid who played “young Bleek.” He was the kid practicing his trumpet skills with his mama, Lillian (Abbey Lincoln) in the beginning of the film. “Young’ Bleek’s” mom was looking over him, pushing him to play his musical scales, but “Bleek’s” lil’ homies were outside his window, yelling for him to come out and play. “Bleek” didn’t wanna practice trumpet that day, he wanted to go play, but his mother forced him to rehearse anyway.

That hard work ultimately transformed into “Bleek” growing up and playing at one of the hottest jazz clubs in town. Then, at the end of the film, after “Bleek” was no longer an active player, he was seen teaching his son, “Miles” (played by a different kid actor), trumpet skills in the same way his mother taught him in the beginning of the film. Except this time, “old Bleek” allowed his son to go play with his friends, when he said he wanted to take a break.

Anywho, in 1990, the kid actor who portrayed ‘young Bleek’ (a.k.a. young Denzel) was then 8 year old actor, Zakee Howze. Now that we’re all caught up on what happened in Mo Better Blues with “Lil Bleek,” let’s get into what Zakee looks like today as a grown man…

You see fam,’ although Zakee went on to land roles in the 1992 classic, Malcolm X, and the 1994 film, Fresh, it’s been a couple decades since he made noise in the acting world since and now we know why.

“Young Bleek” Today:

This is Zakee Howze now…

Zakee Howze

He’s 38 years old and as y’all can see, the brotha ain’t a baby anymore. Also, based on what he’s revealed in his autobiographical book, Fragments A.K.A. Incomplete thoughts: Fragments, he’s also lived through some real-life-grown-man hardships.

Apparently, he’s had a criminal history, which developed when he was 12 years old. He’s also served time in prison and became a convicted felon. Check out his brief book summary of his life and the lessons he’s learned from it:

Zakee Howze: This book was written during a time of a recession in my country. I am a few days away from being a bastard case. My father bailed out on me and my mother. I fell in love with doing crimes at the age of 12. I caught my first felony at 15. I have a lot of stories to tell from first hand. I stripped myself away from blessing at an early age. You can see some of my childhood achievements at and search for Zakee Howze. I have good friends that were murdered or had to go before the creator because of their reasons. I started feeling like nobody loved me. Actually some people did stop loving me. You the man when have the money, but what about being a good person? That doesn’t matter to a lot of people anymore. One thing I learned is that when materialistic items are stripped away from people you will see nothing but their true character. I had to write this book because I witnessed too many people who do not control their own life.

Thankfully, Zakee is no longer living a life of crime and although it’s unclear exactly what he’s doing these days, like my mama used to say: “Sometimes no news, is good news.” Simply put, as long as Zakee has not recently made headline news for regressing back to his old criminal habits, it’s a good thing…he’s more than likely being far more constructive with his life these days and we can’t be made at the man for that.