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" My parents are from Ghana. Until I was 17, I thought you had to go to college. I had no idea. I didn't know it was not an option. "
" I'd never thought about acting as a job. I was an engineer; I was in science and technology. I loved movies and television growing up, but I'd never thought about it as, 'Oh, that guy Denzel Washington is employed as an actor.' "
" I have a theater company that I'm a part of, Colt Coeur, and they do some really rad projects. "
" The Chinese Student Association at Cornell put together their own play. It was all Asian people in the cast except for me, because they wanted to do a couple of scenes about an interracial relationship. I was the only non-Asian person on stage; the entire audience was Asian apart from my 10 friends that showed up. "
" Another benefit of going to Cornell is that 90 percent of your friends are doctors. "
" If you get too deep into the history, what often happens to a lot of us actors is that we become stilted. We forget that we're reading about something that happened a hundred years ago. If we don't put the human emotion that would naturally be in there, we end up being stilted instead of being human beings. "
" The first time I ever heard the blues, my parents had a stack of records that they weren't using anymore. I found them when I was ten; I didn't know what it was. But I found Lightnin' Hopkins. "
" Macklemore gets a Grammy over Kendrick Lamar. I still can't get over that. But again, it's not Macklemore's fault. It's the way of the country. "
" What's nice about having an engineering degree is everybody thinks you are smart. "
" When 'Goodfellas' is on TNT, and they've taken out all the curse words and put Tide commercials in the middle of it, I'll still watch 'Goodfellas' because it's that great of a movie. "
" If you're going to sign a contract, there are things you have to understand you might have to do. If you don't, then you walk away. "
" When you're a guest star on a movie or a TV show, I always say it's like being invited to a family reunion, but it's not your family. So you don't belong - they're being nice to you, but you don't fit in completely; you don't know everybody's story. You don't have a history. "
" I have the softest beard in the world. As far as growing it, it doesn't itch, and it's so non-intrusive. But, I am so sick of hair on my face and on my head. Because I'm not a really hairy guy, I'm not really used to it. "
" When people say Jerry Lee Lewis invented rock n' roll, they forget Little Richard. People talk about Elvis Presley and forget he was singing black music. I don't blame Elvis. It was the music business figuring it could make more money from this music if it weren't presented from the original source. "
" You look at how Barack Obama has had to conduct himself as President. It reminds me of Jackie Robinson, how he had to be very careful to reassure people that this was all right. And you still have people trying to tear him down. They make up all sorts of lies, with the goal of making him seem illegitimate. "
" A really good impressionist, even if they don't look at all like the person they're impersonating, it's a weird thing where they start to look like that person. It's kind of odd. "
" Once you get my snark going, I'll just start snarking it up all over Twitter. "
" 'Copper' is my first period piece. It's funny because I've been doing a lot of episodes of 'Elementary' with Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu; they keep bringing me back on the show, and so I go from being an outstanding black doctor to being a kind of hood, ex-car thief who went through rehab in 'Elementary.' "
" It's not selling out, necessarily, to do something to gain some kind of notoriety that gives you the cache to do be able to go and do something else that you want. There's some dues that you just have to pay in life. "
" White artists have made millions of dollars off music they stole from black artists. I don't blame all the white artists. I'm a huge Stevie Ray Vaughn fan, and he was always very gracious about where he learned his music. But a lot of the time, you'd think the white guys thought it up. Hey, hasn't anyone heard of Muddy Waters? "
" Quentin Tarantino and Sam Jackson are the reasons I'm an actor. "
" I was in chemical engineering at Cornell University. My girlfriend at the time dared me to do a play. I knew there was something I wanted, not necessarily engineering. "
" My dad, when he was young, did Shakespeare in school, and my mom was a little bit of an artist, but everybody was pragmatic. "
" Traveling, I've met Ghanaian people who have seen me in minor stuff, but they see the name Ato Essandoh, and they recognize it as a Ghanaian name. They come up to me and are always so excited. You don't think about it, but they really absorb American culture. "
" I love the notion of a dude sitting there with an untuned guitar tapping his foot and just singing his passion out; that's what got me into music in the first place. "