Profiles In Sexy: Isaiah Washington, I Wish I Knew How to Quit You!

*As some have pointed out down thread there are legitimate reasons to hate Isaiah Washington. I realize he can be a horrendous douche. I realize he was fired for repeating a homophobic slur. I am not homophobic, but I have a hard time giving up my fascination with him despite his arrogance and sheer ridiculousness. So I’ve been between a rock and a hard place on the man for some time. So please realize that a good portion of this column is over-the-top humor (which I am fond of) and is not an endorsement of his douchebaggery. That said. Feel free to air your grievances towards me below and suggestions as to how I can pay penance. So, sorry. Please don’t stop loving me! I’m not trying to be a jerk! I think Wesley Snipes is a wife beater but I still enjoy “Blade!” I tend to practice relativism in what art I enjoy even though the art is created by imperfect vessels. I will try harder and thank you for your feedback!

The Great Wall of Sexy

Isaiah Washington. Classically trained actor. Martial artist. Sexy mutha fucker.

I won’t apologize for my love of Isaiah as an actor/sex object.

Despite famously letting the fag word fly, fragging former “Grey’s Anatomy” castmate TR Knight without closet outing shrapnel in the process, I have found it difficult to give up my love of all things Isaiah.

And, yeah. He wouldn’t shut up about it. But dude was hurt. Isaiah does not hate the gays. He even shot a PSA for GLAAD in the midst of the whole drama. Isaiah’s one fatal flaw is arrogance. He’s proud and has good reason to be. He just doesn’t know when to shut it up. But he was trying to defend himself, so I don’t blame him.

I mean, look at him. LOOK AT HIM! He is the epitome of black masculinity, in its ideal form, in every role he plays. Even the marginal ones. It’s difficult to see Isaiah ever being played for a sucker. He’s to brilliant to be the rhubarb or the patsy or the thug or the lazy. It’s dignity or damn. He’s either going to be the hero or the arrogant bastard. There is no in-between. He will not shuffle for you. He will not “play nice.” He will not tone back his intensity to convenience your anemic ego.

He is an actor with an emphasis on the ACTING. And on Grey’s Anatomy he was, above and beyond, the best dramatic actor on the show. Fuck a Patrick Dempsey (Although I love the hair.) You felt Preston Burke in both his noblest and ass-holiest moments. And he’s the second best black actor in Hollywood with the last name Washington. If Hollywood weren’t so color phobic of Negroes who refuse to make nice they would beg him to prance about their cameras in all his Shakespearian splendor.

Instead he’s shunted, stunted and pushed aside for more “safe” actors. You can’t have that kind of intensity walking around reminding people of what a black man could, should and would be if he dared to dream at his highest.

And yeah, I’m dancing along the bridge of hyperbole, but I love Isaiah. I’m not going to apologize for this love affair that has been going on since Spike Lee all the way to Shonda Rhimes. You don’t throw a good man away just because he got pissed off at that prissy hair bastard McDreamy and dropped an f-bomb out of anger. And my God, for all the indignation, Isaiah is in acting where 50 percent of everyone is gay and where he has played a gay man (“Get on the Bus”). As homophobic as black people are he chose to play a gay man. (And a gay who could beat the shit out of you, nonetheless.) I’m not saying you can’t be a gay hater just because you played one, but I know PLENTY of black actors who can only play gay if it’s a gross stereotype/drag queen act, rendering all gays mere sashaying, swishy, prissy caricatures. I don’t know the man’s heart, but I know the black community. You don’t play gay unless you are rock solid in your stones and your self-esteem.

13 thoughts on “Profiles In Sexy: Isaiah Washington, I Wish I Knew How to Quit You!

  1. Wow.Please tell me this is snark.Please.I could pull out the standard “What if the situation was reversed” argument and ask you how you would feel about a white actor calling a black actor a nigger for whatever reason. Would you be as supportive?You’ve just illustrated why it’s so hard to be black and gay.You’ve got racism on the one side in the gay community. (And I do believe that part of the frenzy over Isaiah was partially about some latent racism within the gay community as much as it was over what he said.)And on the other hand you have this.Isaiah Washington is a talented sexy actor.Who cares?He said something that in any other work context would very well get him fired.I’m not a fan of Grey’s Anatomy so I don’t have a dog in the fight between these actors but I can understand why someone would not want to work with someone who called a gay person a faggot.And as for the “he played a gay man” thing.Come on.Charleton Heston played Moses does that make the fact that he was a gun-toting GOP asshole ok?

  2. Yeah I’m not feeling Isaiah after the he dropped the F-bomb either. As the commenter above says; if a White actor dropped the N-bomb but played the best friend of a Black person in a film would that make his use of the N word okay?Plus Isaiah’s neck is too long. He reminds me of a turtle.

  3. baltogeek: Well, some of it is snark. And some of it is that I really do like Isaiah Washington, even though he can be an ass and is often arrogant and says things without thinking. I have enjoyed him as an actor. And I actually liked Charleston Heston as an actor. I didn’t care for his views on gun laws, but he’s a great actor.So I had a hard time dumping Isaiah because I liked him as an actor and liked him on Grey’s. And I understood why he had to be fired, I just always gathered he was more so fired for being a huge jerk, not necessarily because he was homophobic. It wasn’t until Isaiah repeated the word at the Gold Globes that he was facing being fired. Up to that point everyone was chalking it up to his massive ego.So Isaiah MIGHT be a homophobe. Or he might be a douche. I think he’s just a douche. I realize that this is my opinion and is not shared by all. It is unfortunate that a lot of men use the term “faggot.” While some have serious issues with gay people, some are just ignorant, like my father who used to repeat that the only people free in America were white men and black women. He was just ignorant. He eventually realized that what he was saying did not gibe with his actual beliefs about black women. He was just repeating the same garbage everyone repeats.And I’m also not one who gets all off the handle over the N-word depending on context. Like with that ridiculous “Dog the Bounty Hunter” situation where he obviously was just a jerk who got recorded by his son and girlfriend. The guy went to a black church, for chrissakes. Yeah, I would prefer that he not drop the n-word. But both Isaiah’s and Dog’s cases were ones that would have been handled privately if gossip hadn’t spread so quickly (or in Dog’s case, involved videotape.)Then he shot himself in the foot repeating the f-word at The Globes.So that’s all. I’m sorry if it came off that I was endorsing douchebaggery. I’m not. I just never really bought that he hated gay people. I just thought he was an ass.

  4. i have a low tolerance for people who use the “n” word and the “f” word, regardless of the race or sexual preference of the person who said it…

  5. all: I gave the piece a reread and it was rather sloppy. So I apologize. It’s not my best work. Should I:A) Rewrite itB) Take it downC) Leave beSeriously though. After I did the reread I noticed how ridiculous it kept getting. I again apologize. It wasn’t meant to be an endorsement for being a douche. It was supposed to be funny.I’ll try harder.Please don’t stop loving me (and by me, I mean the blog since we don’t know each other in a personal sense).But seriously. Don’t stop.I have abandonment issues.

  6. I agree with all the other comments. Nevertheless, leave it up. It is what it is. Writing is a process and it doesn’t mean you have to be right on every single time. If anything, this could lead to an interesting post about racism and homophobia.

  7. I love Isaiah Washington and he is just another person ridiculed and sent out to get his own switch. Just like the Rev. Wright fiasco, our own people see what they want to see, see as much as their experiences have socialized them to understand, and people eat the feed of talking points set out to further euthanize us. Most Black people born after 1970 don’t understand men like Isaiah Washington. We have been raised to be sterilized out of show any anger let alone make a mistake.Actually I don’t think his choice of words were a mistake. Maybe he could have said, “I’m not your bitch” and piss the women off. How else do you get your point across that you are not someone’s tool with grit without using weaponry. Hell, I’m happy he did not pick up a prop. Then we would have been calling him “wackledoodle”.Isaiah was not fired because of the words he used. The cast and crew did not like him and neither did the executives obviously. I know people like Isaiah. I am one. If we don’t come into a setting playing the Grateful Negro, we are then marked. I think instead of him minimizing his pride of finding his African genology, they wanted him to be silent on the set and in interviews with his self-glorification of finding himself in which a lot of Blacks who needed to see that catharcis of model behavior for them to get inspired. See…people don’t THE THEMS. They really do exist.If Isaiah just thanked ABC for being innovative and let it at that, he would still be working. But Isaiah didn’t. He was so proud that he found his native people and was inspiring others to find theirs. That is a problem. Mass media does not want to have to assist him in his African Genelogy charity events. They are thinking, “He ain’t Oprah or Angelina”. “He ain’t George Clooney or Mia Farrow”. He didn’t have even “safe Negro” clout to be so gregarious with his racial pride. This is no longer the early 70’s when we were wearing Black Is Beautiful t-shirts and meaning it.I can see him now arriving to the set happy and sharing his new agenda and getting on others nerves. See Oprah did not authorize what he was doing as okay eventhough Henry Louis Gates was doing through academia. ABC was looking at him like he losted him “cotton-picking” mind because he was hired as a token like all other Black actors of series are to fill quotas. I think Shonda was being a visionary in casting, but Isaiah and James Pickens are the shit. Hands down. The shit. Hot! Trained. True.So I can see that when shit hit the fan, people went into wanting to cover their asses first and waited to hear what “In charge” was decreeing of the matter. What I sensed with all of those adults being mum, a lot wanted to side with Isaiah but they could not. They were torn and they were under contract to abide by Executive Decisions. Still as well they probably all saw Isaiah digging his own grave in talking about Africa too much. They probably saw Isaiah looking better than them in the dailies and the cast ensemble shots. He was too big in spirit and they were not used to that from some “not approved to be A-list actor” carrying himself as one.Isaiah was talking about heady stuff that only the A-listers are given column space and word-count to talk about. Isaiah probably was jealous of Patrick only naturally considering he knew he was more fierce of an actor. Jealousy is natural and at times righteous when you know someone is getting over not paying their dues or luck is gracing them and not you.But Isaiah was not jealous of Patrick’s acting ability. Patrick is okay. He is moderate. You really can’t complain. He is average. He’s just sexy and plays the character as the doctor that does not know he is sexy. Most sexy characters acknowledge they are hot. McDreamy never identified that he happened to be a gorgeous doctor with a gorgeous wife and he lived in Airstreamer. No one that handsome goes living as if he never recognized he was fine. Magnum P.I. knew he was fine. Remington Steel knew he was fine. Even The Fresh Prince of Belair when he looked odd told the audience he was fine.Part of what draws people to McDreamy is that he doesn’t “get it” and he could have someone like his wife’s character was initially. It’s in the kool-aid.I stopped wtching Grey’s actually before the f-word drama. But after how they handled Isaiah, I stopped watching to not even have a casual glance. I saw a preview of tonight’s episode and I cringed. I think Shonda Rhimes was covering for ABC. I think she was stuck in a most difficult place like the staff because of contracts but she is not who runs ABC. She may be the executive producer but she does not run the network and is not the entire board of directors.I was disappointed in her eventhough she had little wiggle room. I think one day later in life she and others will open up but just not now. If she or any of them “get out of their place”, they may not work again. Period.Isaiah is going to have grovel and do an Obama in denying and renouncing himself in order to get people to consider that he has learned his lesson about staying in his place. When Vanity Fair lets him know they are interested in highlighting him in the next Africa issue (because they did not when they could have), then he would be seeing his star rise again. Or Isaiah become a producer and make those that tried to cut his feet off, kiss his ass.He has enticing, innovative projects on his website. They are actually the most inspiring and innovative that I have seen out of most mainstream Blacks in Hollywood. Note: Where was Oprah and her fawning when shit hit the fan? Oprah was silent. Where was Howard University when shit hit the fan? Silent. I thought his alma mater should have supported him. I thought The Association of Black Pyschologists and The Association of Black Sociologists and Morehouse College should have stood up for him on General Principle.Normally I could care less about lobbying broad concerns about the Hollywood Cattle Ranch but I did see the socio-political schema of Isaiah’s castigation. This writer too, “gets it”:http://www.blackcommentator.com/233/233_between_the_lines_paris_hilton.htmlI think Isaiah is an unlikely prophet because he refuses his call. He wants to do it his way when he was not coincidentally named Isaiah because his mom liked it. Isaiah Washington is supposed to do more. He should stop worrying about Hollywood’s approval. It’s like Ghandi said when he wanted to say he had “I’ve 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one”. Instead Ghandi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. Isaiah 4-EVER!

  8. i just recently fell in love with your blog, and i won’t stop because you love isiah. isiah’s a fine, fine-looking man.i think that if he’d been a white man saying the f-word on the set and acting up, the whole incident wouldn’t have been publicly spun the way it was.but he could have handled it much, much better than he did. he handled it publicly like an ass, and frankly sealed his own fate when he used the f word at the golden globes. you could see everyone around him just looking on like, “really dude? REALLY? what’s wrong with you?”and it’s too bad, because he is talented and handsome.sadly, he suffers from “also a bit of an ass” syndrome.

  9. and also: i don’t know that we can really know whether he hates The Gays or not. it’s hard to tell, you know?with public figures, it’s a guess either way. but yeah, i think he was fired for being a jerk, too. not for the initial use of an epithet — for the poor handling that came after. though who knows what he was like on set — it could have been cumulative. the use of the f-word was what got the most attention in the press, but there was also the fact that he got physical with a co-worker, which is never cool.my opinion of folks acting up is that folks will tolerate a lot of it as long as you’re making them money. when he handled the whole incident poorly, he fucked with the show making money. that’s why he had to go.

  10. andrea: I almost can’t add anything to what you said there, because that is what I struggled with. I admired for so long his ability, his refusal to compromise, then when “f-gate” went down it was more about general dislike towards him, his own arrogance and the fact that he repeated the word at the Golden Globes. Shonda couldn’t protect him any more, so he was just dropped.all: And it frustrated me about how he was being labeled because despite how people shot me down for saying he played a gay role, people must at least acknowledge that ever since there was film and television actors have avoided “gay” roles for fear of being typecast. That most men’s homophobia or fear of being typecast is so strong they will not take the part no matter the sexual orientation. “Brokeback Mountain” was the exception, not the rule. Actors who either come out of the closet or take on a gay role have to deal with casting directors who don’t take them seriously when they want to take on hetero roles. Things have eased up a bit, but back when Isaiah made “Get On the Bus” it was still a career no-no. It was not the safe choice. And the fact that he chose to not play his character as a stereotype says a lot.Tis all I was saying. We can’t ignore the history of typecasting actors who’ve “played gay.” That was why it was so controversial as when Isaiah said it to Dempsey the gossip rags went wild with speculation over who was gay on “Grey’s.” They didn’t even care much for Isaiah, who they didn’t acknowledge mostly. It was all about outing TR Knight. And in the end, that and Isaiah’s clashes with management were the real reasons he was fired.That and he wouldn’t shut his mouth.But I didn’t break that down as well as I could have because 1) I was writing a fawning joke piece and 2) I should have stuck more to his talents and looks rather than defending him since that’s his job.Also: Last time I checked other individuals who sad horrible things, a la Michael Richards, did not go directly to the gay community, ask for forgiveness and film an anti-discrimination PSA. GLAAD even back down after that. Some were still mad, but the organized dogs were called off. Individuals, though, still were upset.midwesternreport: I agree. I think Isaiah would have survived this if he’d just SHUT UP. I just think he’s prideful and that blinds him from his good sense. And this is a classic case were I was torn. I’m sensitive towards gay and lesbian issues, particularly in the black community, but as a hetero black woman I still loved Isaiah because of his strength and “no compromises” attitude towards his trade. Here was a guy who did not play stereotypes, was proud of his history, intelligent and is married to a gorgeous BALD black woman. I was torn. It was hard for me to just shrug and stop being a fan over this. Especially when I thought it was more to do with him being difficult than anything else.Anyway. I’ll leave it up. I’ll probably write a piece about conundrum in the future.

  11. He’s a jerk. A sexy, sexy jerk. Actually, he’s not even really a jerk, I think he’s just really intense and can’t stand to be marginalized.No, it wasn’t right to call TR Knight such a derogatory name. But I suspect he has a temper, and that was an unfortunate flaring up of said temper. I doubt he’s actually homophobic – you can’t get very far in Hollywood if you hate the Velvet Mafia.And I agree with all the people who said he should have just stopped talking.I’ll always love him. He’s intense, he’s sexy, he loves his bald sexy wife, and he’s a Bison! HU stand up!!

  12. Andrea, just typing in from sunny London, after work, to second, third and fourth your oh so articulate comments!I am an unashamed and apologetic Isaiah fan. The man simply moves me with his exquisite acting talent. It’s that simple.Well, well. So, it’s to be taken is it that the people still berating this man years on for something that he said are sin free and perfectly placed to indulge in stone throwing? Mmm, I understand.Not.Are they sure they’ve never said or done something, anytime in their lives that reflected the fact that human beings err, make mistakes, screw things up, sometimes get it wrong?Isaiah all the way…proud, uncompromising, cocksure (I like em that way, myself), masculine to no fault, and an up and outstanding black man.Grey’s is grotty without him.

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