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Columbus Short Says Meeting Denzel Washington Bruised His Ego to the Point That He Had to Name His Son After the Actor to Feel Less Emasculated

Columbus Short still has a chip on his shoulder after the experience he had meeting his idol, Denzel Washington.

The “Stomp the Yard” lead was in the running to join the cast of “The Great Debaters” when he had an unforgettable interaction with the acclaimed actor.

Columbus Short says Denzel Washington made him feel small when they met years ago, so he named his child after the actor to feel less emasculated. (Photo: Officialcshort/Instagram.)

According to Short, when he auditioned for the role of Henry Lowe, he had to endure multiple rounds of a scene with Washington in a room full of studio executives, which left him bewildered by the industry veteran’s tactics of weeding out subpar talent.

In the end, reportedly despite announcements that he had been cast, Nate Parker ultimately landed the gig.

The impression the former dancer had of Washington’s perceived mental warfare lingered, even after Short went on to star in several other successful projects, including “Armored” with Laurence Fishburne.

In an episode of the “Moguls In The Making” podcast, Short rehashed how the “Boyz n the Hood” actor acted as a mentor for him while on set, something he thought Washington would have done.

Instead, he said he suffered a bruised ego that bled into his personal life. “My son’s name is Denzel. Denzel, he kept little n—gaing me, like, he kept making me feel like a little n—ga,” said Short about their early-2000s meeting.

RELATED: Columbus Short Confirms Exit from ‘Scandal’ Amid Personal Woes

“He kept doing that to me, so finally I was like, boom, and I’m just truncating the story, but when my son was about to be born, I was like, my wife was like, ‘What are we naming our son?’ I was like Denzel. ‘Cause why? ‘Cause now he’s my little n—ga,” he explained.

The revelation was off-putting to fans, who were unaware the men had ever crossed paths. “When were Columbus Short and Denzel ever in the same atmosphere?” asked one person on X.

Another commented, “This has got to be the DUMBEST S—T EVER!!! From Columbus Shorts explanation of why his son is named Denzel to the host replying with “tHaTs DeEp.” In his 2020 autobiography, “Short Stories,” Short noted that his admiration for Washington was also a factor when naming his son.

“The truth is, he remains to be my favorite actor, period. He is brilliant in all his choices on screen, and after years of seeking his validation of my existence in the business, I am finally at peace with it all and still would jump at the chance to share the screen with him. My son carries my hero’s name; he’s destined for greatness,” Short wrote.


Elsewhere in the book, he claimed that the actor was unreceptive to his auditioning for a part in “Fences,” but that years later, while starring on “Scandal,” he finally earned Washington’s nod of approval for his work.

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