Denzel Washington’s NAACP Image Award Acceptance Speech Is Black Excellence

Denzel Washington took home the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role as Troy Maxon in the August Wilson adapted film Fences. As Washington, already a two-time Academy Award winning actor, continues to rack up awards as he heads to this year’s Oscar ceremony, he’s done nothing but offer words of wisdom along the way, and did so again during his acceptance speech.

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Taking a moment to thank Wilson for his brilliant and emotional work, the 62-year-old beloved actor and director spoke about the importance of never quitting and remaining the course. “Fall down seven times, get up eight,” he said to the crowd. Washington also honored the new crop of talent in Hollywood for their courage, in particular Moonlight director, Barry Jenkins.

“I am particularly proud and happy about the young filmmakers, actors, singers, writers, producers that are coming up behind my generation, in particular Barry Jenkins. Young people understand, this young man made 10, 15, 20 short films before he got the opportunity to make Moonlight, so never give up. Without commitment you’ll never start but more importantly without consistency you’ll never finish.”

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The Pasadena Convention Center was quiet and still as Washington continued to highlight the achievements of his fellow thespians including Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer. Yet at the close of his speech, Washington left all the attendees with a simple word of advice than can be applied to anywhere in life.

“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship, so keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”

Watch Washington’s motivating speech below.