Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

Spike Lee and Denzel Washington have become synonymous with great filmmaking – both together and apart. Whether it’s seminal biopics or big-budget action flicks, the two have managed to find a rhythm and synergy many collaborators would envy. But their relationship goes beyond the big screen as documented in various interviews. The Oscar-winning director gave viewers an awesome throwback of a young Denzel Washington on social media.

Denzel Washington and Spike Lee’s cinematic chemistry has spanned multiple films over three decades. One of their best collaboration was the jazz-themed musical drama Mo’ Better Blues. Washington’s performance in the film was one of his best. Lee gave fans a peek into the actor’s process from the 1990 film on Instagram. Check out Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues throwback moment below:

As evident by Spike Lee’s post, Denzel Washington was committed to his role as a trumpet player. Seeing Washington practicing his trumpet is no surprise. The actor’s commitment to his craft is well known, and the photo was a perfect example of that. This throwback moment proved why the Oscar winner is considered the greatest actor of the 21st century.

Mo’ Better Blues is considered one of Spike Lee and Denzel Washington’s best films in their long history. Lee’s direction and Washington’s turn as troubled trumpet player Bleek Gilliam made the film a fun and crazy ride from the beginning to the end. As previously mentioned, it was the actor’s commitment to the role that truly came out. Learning how to play the trumpet made Washington’s performance more authentic. Washington’s commitment led him to collaborate with the director on multiple occasions over three decades, including his Oscar-nominated performance in the biopic Malcolm X.

Seeing a young Denzel Washington recalled back to a time where Black Hollywood was starting to come into its own. Filmmakers such as Spike Lee, John Singleton and the Hudlin brothers changed black cinema in the 1990s with stars such as Washington, Eddie Murphy and Will Smith ruling the box office. These films managed to shift some perceptions of what it meant to be Black within mainstream culture. Washington was able to hop around from genre to genre unlike some of his contemporaries. But it can be argued that his best performances came from his collaborations with Lee during the 1990s.

The throwback photo was a nice recall to Denzel Washington and Spike Lee’s long-running track record. As a constant master of his craft, Washington always studies and becomes his characters as evident by his staggering award nominations and wins. Hopefully, he and Lee will end up collaborating again in the future. But if you want to see Washington’s brilliant performance, you can check out Mo’ Better Blues on Peacock and Prime Video.

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