NBCBLK28: Michael B. Jordan: Pushing the Envelope

2016 MLK Now

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white) Michael B. Jordan speaks at the 2016 MLK Now at Riverside Church on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images) Noam Galai / Getty Images

Michael B. Jordan, 28, Los Angeles

Michael B. Jordan isn’t worried about elevating Black art. He’s more interested in elevating art and being Black while doing it.

Since starring in “Creed” alongside the Golden Globe-winning Sylvester Stallone, and establishing a great actor-director relationship with Ryan Coogler, Michael is poised to become Hollywood’s next big commodity. At Friday’s NAACP Image Awards, Michael took home awards for Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role as Apollo Creed's son.

"I'm just proud to be black and in this room," Michael said, before revealing that he used to sneak into the ceremony as a teen. “And now I'm standing here as the entertainer of the year, which is mind blowing."

47th NAACP Image Awards - Press Room
Michael B. Jordan poses in the press room during the 47th NAACP Image Awards held at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage) Tommaso Boddi / WireImage

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In addition to other film projects, is co-writing a new comic book, “North,” about a super-spy. It’s all part of his master plan to rewrite the stereotypical narrative of Hollywood’s Black male actor while also giving back. This Newark, N.J., native often talks about how he should be a statistic, but he isn’t. He also famously told his managers—post his widely lauded turn in 2013’s “Fruitvale Station”— that he’s done taking roles where his character dies.

“I love telling the experience of a Black male in America, but modern, not always having to go back to a period piece to remind people where we come from,” he told GQ last fall, just months after he starred as Johnny Storm in “The Fantastic Four” reboot. (He caught hell for taking that role since Storm is often cast as White, but it’s all part of the plan.) “It’s more a modern sense of where we are today, and where we want to go in the future.”

The future for Michael also means standing up for reducing violence and standing against the for-profit nature of American mass incarceration. This past December, he sat on a White House criminal justice panel and was blazingly honest about growing up in one of America’s toughest cities.

“Statistically I shouldn't be here,” he told panelists that day, adding that #stayingwoke is a good idea for any Black man in America. “[But] my parents made sure I knew what was going on in the city of Newark."

NBCBLK presents 28 profiles of notable black entrepreneurs, policy makers, athletes, entertainers, activists, and artists NBCBLK will reveal one profile each day of the month in honor. While some of the honorees are familiar faces, others are pillars of their communities, unsung heroes with stories to tell. #NBCBLK28.

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