A veteran of Spike Lee films, Washington’s extensive body of work is perhaps most marked by his role
A veteran of Spike Lee films, Washington’s extensive body of work is perhaps most marked by his role as gifted cardiothoracic surgeon “Dr. Preston Burke” on the hit ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. His portrayal earned him two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award. After leaving Grey’s Anatomy, Washington joined NBC, guest starring on Bionic Woman. He has been recognized on TV Guide’s “TV’s Sexiest Men” list in June 2006, and was named one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful people” in May 2006.
Now focusing his efforts off-screen, Washington is a devout supporter of Sierra Leone, working to give back to the land to which his ancestry has been traced. In 2007, he founded The Gondobay Manga Foundation, advocating cooperative planning to achieve positive, timely improvements in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone. By uniting passionate people, The Foundation strives for immediate impact by addressing one village at a time. This singular approach tailors initiatives to the specific needs of the village community, while drawing the attention of the international community to distinct goals. In undertaking such issues as road building, water supply, and electricity, The Foundation will stress the need for reliability, accountability, and sustainability in the infrastructure of Sierra Leone.
In November 2007, Washington and the Gondobay Manga Foundation opened its first school, Chief Foday Golia Memorial School, in the Njala Kendema village for 150 students in grades K-5. The new school, named in honor of the former leader of the village, replaces two grass huts not suited for occupants. In addition to building the school, Washington and the Gondobay Manga Foundation donated uniforms and school supplies for each student.
A man of great patriotism, Washington honorably served in the United States Air Force, and currently works with the LA Regional Food Bank to provide food for the needy in Los Angeles. Active in promoting the arts, he hosted the recent 16th Annual Pan-African Film Festival. Washington was the Master of Ceremonies for the first White House Summit on Malaria to fight the war against malaria in 15 African countries, and in 2008 attended the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as an advisor to President Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Following this event, President Koroma traveled to Washington, D.C. and announced that Washington would be granted full citizenship of Sierra Leone. This historical citizenship declaration made Washington the first African-American to receive such an honor and President Ernest Bai Koroma the first African President to perform such an act. Finalized in December of 2008, it concluded a longtime dream of dual citizenship for African-Americans by Pan African pioneers such as W.E.B. DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Horace Mann Bond, Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Rev. Leon Sullivan.
Washington has worked steadily since 2007, starring in the movie THE LEAST OF THESE (2008), HURRICANE SEASON (2009), AREA Q (2010), THE UNDERSHEPHERD (2012), BLUE CAPRICE (2013), GO FOR SISTERS (2013), THEY DIE BY DAWN (2013), TRIALS OF KATE MCCALL (2013), GREY’S ANATOMY (2005-2014) THE SIN SEER (2015), SECRET SUMMER (2016), BLUE BLOODS (2017), BULL (2017), BEHIND THE MOVEMENT (2018), THE 100 (2013-2018), TALES (2019), KEYS TO THE CITY (2019), P-VALLEY (2020), CUT THROAT CITY (2020) and starred as Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves along with his Directorial Debut in the upcoming movie CORSICANA (2021).