John David Washington made sure the ‘Today’ show gave his mom as much credit as his dad for his success.
Now this is the mother of all shout-outs.
“BlacKkKlansman” star John David Washington was quick to credit his mom as much as his Oscar-winning dad for inspiring his acting career in a recent “Today” show interview. He interrupted MSNBC anchor and “Today” weekend cohost Craig Melvin’s remark about “getting started in this business being the son of Denzel Washington” to add in “and Pauletta Washington!” He then highlighted his mother’s many achievements, such as being a classically-trained pianist who went to Juilliard.
“Pauletta Washington — who was earning more money than he was when they married … before they got married, she was on Broadway working,” said Washington, 34. “She paid for the first date. She paid the bill, paid the cab ride … She’s a great artist in her own right and I learned a lot from her.”
Pauletta, 67, has appeared in the 1998 film “Beloved,” and played the piano in 2002’s “Antwone Fisher” and worked on the soundtrack of 1993’s “Philadelphia” starring her husband and Tom Hanks. She’s also acted in TV shows such s 2017’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” and the children’s series “Happily Ever After” in the ‘90s.
“My father taught me how to hunt, my mother taught me how to love,” Washington added.
His heartfelt message to his mom resonated with other famous mothers across social media, including Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, who tweeted,”This just made me cry like a baby … honor thy father AND thy mother … You are born of kings and queens.”
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) August 18, 2018
Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles chimed in on Instagram that, “I love how John David reps hard for his mom! Just warms my heart. Pauletta is an exceptional entertainer, wife and mother. Today we salute you Pauletta.” And Jada Pinkett Smith also praised “A son and his love for his mother” on Insta, sharing the same “Today” show clip.
This is key because research reveals that gender bias has led to too many women’s achievements being overshadowed by those of men. For example, a 2015 Harvard study found that women economists who co-authored papers with men were less likely to receive tenure compared to women who wrote their own papers; the male authors got more credit.
A 2005 American Psychological Association report also found that men receive more credit than women for joint work on stereotypically male tasks; on average, both male and female participants rated the female worker as less competent than the male by more than 1.5 points on a nine-point scale, and less influential by more than one point.
And a 2016 Cambridge study on gender and language in Olympic sports writing found that male athletes are discussed two to three more times in the press than their female counterparts in their sports. That report hit at the same time as the Rio Summer Games, when such gender bias in media coverage included NBC’s Dan Hicks credited Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s world record and gold medal in the 400m individual medley to her husband/coach, “the guy responsible for turning Katinka Hosszú, his wife, into a whole different swimmer.” And when Chicagoan Corey Cogdell won a bronze in women’s trap shooting, the Chicago Tribune didn’t even use her name in tweeting her accomplishment, but instead cited her husband’s job and marital status with the tweet, “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics.”
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) August 7, 2016
But some guys are getting it right. Denzel Washington has also praised his wife of 35 years in interviews, such as a 2016 “T.D. Jakes Show” appearance where he admitted, “I grew up in athletics, but my wife’s family had a great education. My wife was a child prodigy. I married up!”
And Justin Timberlake made sure to give his wife Jessica Biel her due at the Golden Globe Awards in January. When NBC’s Natalie Morales and Carson Daly asked JT about his upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, the singer demurred that he was there to support his wife, who was nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie for “The Sinner.”
Plus, services like the Engaging Educator are now offering workshops to get women to own their accomplishments, such as two-hour workshop, “UnHumble: How to Stop Playing Small and Be a Badass.”
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