‘Put God first!’: Denzel Washington’s inspiring commencement address puts Michelle O’s to shame

Dillard University‘s 218 members of the Class of 2015 received a special treat in addition to their diplomas — Academy and Tony Award-winning actor Denzel Washington to deliver the keynote commencement address.

And in contrast to the whiney, racial and excuse-driven address delivered by first lady Michelle Obama at another historically black university, Washington’s was filled of hope, humor, inspiration and love of his creator.

“No. 1,” he resolutely told the graduates of the New Orleans university, “Put. God. First!”

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Denzel Washington speaks after receiving an honorary degree at the Dillard Commencement featuring Denzel Washington at Dillard University. Saturday, May 9, 2015. (NOLA.com Photo)

Washington told the class that God has kept him centered throughout his life,

“I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected. I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble,” he said.

“I didn’t always stick with him, but he’s always stuck with me. Stick with him in everything you do.”

Toward the end of his brief address, he gave some sage advice.

“I pray that you put your slippers way under your bed tonight, so that when you wake up in the morning you have to get on your knees to reach them,” Washington said.

“And while you’re down there, say, ‘thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say ‘thank you’ in advance for what’s already yours.

“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it’s yours already,” Washington said.

“Don’t just aspire to make a living,” he concluded, “aspire to make a difference.”

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Denzel Washington receives an honorary degree at the Dillard Commencement featuring Denzel Washington at Dillard University. Saturday, May 9, 2015. (NOLA.com Photo)

On Saturday — the same day as Washington’s address — the first lady delivered her own commencement speech at Tuskegee University.

But instead of inspiration-driven, hers was racially motivated.

“The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me,” she said. “Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is those age-old problems are stubborn, and they haven’t fully gone away.”

Her resentment was as palpable as Washington’s gratitude was evident. One graduating class got rewarded for its time, anyway.

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27 thoughts on “‘Put God first!’: Denzel Washington’s inspiring commencement address puts Michelle O’s to shame

  1. Mary Brown says:

    Class! Some people have it, some don’t(the Obama’s…)

    1. Kenneth Clark says:

      Some can’t even buy it. Denzel gave an example of what humbleness, class and gratefulness truly is.

    2. Paul says:

      It’s “Obamas” you illiterate moron.

      1. Joe Krozac says:

        It’s “class” you nit picking buffoon. Get some for yourself.

      2. Eric G says:

        Hey Paul,
        I’m waiting for your “critique” of the comment written by Michelle a few names down the list. I’m sure you will address it with the same level of class that you exhibited when responding to Mary Brown.

      3. Sams_1 says:

        It is abamination you jackal misogynist

      4. Friend Of St. Frank says:

        The Obamas class? No, if you are referring to the Obamas having a certain thing or trait, it would be the Obama’s class.

        1. Doug says:

          I’m glad to see you’re also appalled by poor grammar.

      5. Mary Brown says:

        Whahhh so I misspelled it. I am not an english major I write computer code so stuff it up your ass moron

        1. Doug says:

          Mary. Go after Paul with one of your 200 guns.

    3. Sams_1 says:

      Some people work for the Dark side and are SEEMINGLY rewarded and some work for the Right side and are obviously rewarded and rewarding cognizant of wherefore their real fortune emanates sustains and provides always

      1. Doug says:

        Please resubmit in English.

    4. Doug says:

      AFlaVet told me Denzel’s just another “eggplant.”

  2. Bessie Morro says:

    that’s total and complete class. oblamers could take some classes from danzel

  3. Madame_deFarge says:

    Thanks Denzel! You can only speak from what you know. The Michelle speech speaks volumes too…about how clueless she is.

  4. Michelle says:

    Wow, you people on here are truly beyond understanding and comprehension. We good black folk when you as white people are not being called out on your past and your present. Both were undeniably inspiring and spoke to these black students as only they could. You are totally disgusting and are a true representation of white america.

    1. cooper22 says:

      Michelle, I can only give my perspective, and, yes, people who write these things can get way harsh, but I believe, this is the difference–

      Mr. Washington was talking about each and every graduate on a personal level and inspiring them,which is what a commencement speech, I would hope, would do. Not someone bringing race into a speech, which is supposed to be the graduates day, to reflect about their accomplishments and what they can each do with their talents. Mrs. Obama, while bringing that into the speech, could not get away from the group think and the race issue, while telling graduates that because as a group, this will be hard because of the race you are. This was inspiration, I think, to keep the problem of race here – to always point out the problems, with no solution to rethink how to solve them, and how the content of character is MORE important than the color of your skin. The undertones of the speech showed that still race is to be front and center. Not addressing the solutions.

    2. Eric G says:

      I agree with you regarding the name calling, but there is a monumental difference in the message the two speakers offered their audiences. If you are unable to see that one truly is about “hope and change” while the other gives the ok to cry victimhood, then perhaps you fall into the same league you accuse “white people” of belonging to. The fact that you make such a blanket statement about whites as a whole shows racism is indeed alive and well in America.

  5. Frank Cicalese says:

    Uh-oh! Denzel might have made a big career mistake. Hollywood, and the political Left, HATE God. I’d imagine that the White House isn’t too happy with this, too.

    1. Spartacus Maximus says:

      Gods are imaginary, so your post makes no sense. I hate gods as much as I hate Lord Voldemort.

  6. Jim Leggett says:

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of Denzel. He’s the “listen to my words, but not my actions” christian – if he is even a follower of Christ at all. I can’t count the number of foul, god-forsaken roles he has played on the big screen. Movies that start out looking innocent but then need to be turned off because of the hellish, dark-horse anti-hero hero characters he has portrayed and promoted.
    And if you disagree with me on this, just take a look at the last movie he starred in The Equalizer. Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references – 90+ uses of the F word (info from IMDB). The main character is an ex-bad guy who goes around grotesquely murdering the other bad guys to save some girl.
    This might seem harsh to some, but IMHO, having Denzel Washington come to a commencement and talk about putting God first makes about as much sense as the demon-possessed girl in Acts ch.16 going around behind Paul and Silas proclaiming to people “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
    God doesn’t need His enemies proclaiming the gospel and perverting it in example – God wants His true followers to share the gospel and live out the example.


    1. Doug says:

      Well said and God loves you.

    2. Spartacus Maximus says:

      Grow up. Belief in gods is silly.

  7. Sams_1 says:

    whoredom is not her problem it is something far more nefarious

  8. Doug says:

    Careful. If you haven’t noticed Denzel’s black, I think.

    1. Dmack1965 says:

      You think?
      Based on most of your comments, that’s quite a surprise.
      The content of his character is what makes him classy.

  9. Spartacus Maximus says:

    God is imaginary; wake the hell up, Michelle O and Denzel! It’s all man-made BS. What dopey things to say. Denzel’s is downright embarrassing. And God has no plan for anyone; how self-deluded and arrogant can she be?!!

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