Isaiah Washington Finds His Roots

Thu., May. 17, 2012 5:39 PM EDT
by DeWayne Rogers

Isaiah Washington is a man on a mission. But not a mission that finds him lobbying for the type of plum Hollywood job that he once enjoyed on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” No, the veteran actor is instead on a quest to reinvigorate his community’s love for itself — a love that he personally ignited through his reconnection with his African roots.

In his book A Man From Another Land, Washington offers an open and honest account of his search for self-identification. Below is a moving excerpt from the book, where he talks about the aftermath of leaving “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I was in big trouble. I was now considered a monster. Everywhere I went; my car was trailed by photographers. I was eviscerated daily and at the same time could feel the hatred inside of my own organs. In a strange way evisceration started to feel humane.”

What initially sparked your interest in reconnecting with your African roots?
My interest in reconnecting to Africa and seeking spiritual awareness has been a 30-year journey for me. And I’m still working at self-realization. As I explain in the book, my dream was affirmed on May 28, 2006, the day of my induction as Chief Gondobay Manga in Sierra Leone.  That day, primarily, confirmed my purpose in life.

You found your purpose in that moment, but what can we collectively do to find our purpose as a community?
Turn off the TV and talk to each other. At the core there are still very different Americas. One Caucasian. One African. One Asian and one Latino. There are African Americans still calling themselves Afro-American and black. Again, confirming that the African American community is not a monolith. If we begin to talk more though, we can begin to eradicate those divisions amongst us, and work toward a more united purpose.

What do you want our readers to know?
Well, I could give a sales pitch on why I feel like this book will positively impact their lives … but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I just want to implore our young people to develop a thirst for knowledge, for family and for legacy. Once that love is rediscovered, then we as a people will find ourselves in a much better place.
dewayne rogers

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