Now that Black Panther is officially in theaters, we can all find solace in transporting to the mystically powerful world of Wakanda, and Michael B. Jordan couldn’t be more “excited” to finally speak openly about the film.
“I feel free liberated that I can finally start talking freely about a project,” Jordan told VIBE during the Unmasked Studios event in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, which was curated by Brisk iced tea and featured a performance from TDE’s Jay Rock. “You try not to give too many spoilers away, but still give [the press] what you need, so I’m just excited. The people are excited, I’m ready for it [the film] to be out.”
The 31-year-old actor is collaborating with Brisk for Creators Class, a program that links a “collective of industry leaders” with up-and-coming creative visionaries in urban arts for “mentorship and collaboration opportunities.” To celebrate the launch of Creators Class, the beverage giant partnered with Marvel Studios’ Black Panther to host an “exclusive event experience” during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
The exhibition, which runs from Feb. 16-17, includes designs inspired by the “clandestine nature” of Wakanda, interactive Marvel-inspired installations, in addition to showcasing “nine brand new Brisk label graphics, created by up-and-coming artists in partnership with Brisk to kick-off the Creators Class program.”
The designs will roll-out across all Brisk packages nationwide starting this month.
With Black Panther heading for a record-breaking monster debut at the box-office, Jordan hopes that the film will be impactful in more ways than one.
“If you know Ryan Coogler and his films, you know it’s going to make an impact. It’s going to mean something, it’s going to be about something. The goal [of Black Panther] was to do something that was going to matter,” he explained. “We couldn’t have even dreamed of the response that’s going down right now, so we’re just super happy and thankful that people are resonating with [the film].”
Jordan wants people to walk away feeling a sense of “pride” from watching Black Panther.
“Identity is so important. Your heritage, your culture, where you come from. I want people to be [proud] of who they are,” Jordan said before adding that playing the “antagonist” character Erik “Killmonger,” explores what not having “reassurance” of who you are “can do to a person.”
In portraying Killmonger, Jordan tested his ability to go to a “dark place” and challenged himself to show the inner workings of a seemingly villainous character. “I don’t want to call him a ‘bad guy.’ He represents a lot of what our generation is going through right now…the frustrations, and the rage,” noted Jordan. “I kind of wanted to put that into a character and put it up on screen and see what that looks like.”
As an overall work, Black Panther reminds us why on-screen representation matters, and restores the notion that “anything is possible,” Jordan said.
“If I was 10 years old and I saw this project, I have to think what kind of impact it would have had on me: pride, [a] feeling of power. Seeing yourself in a positive light, not like the stereotypes you’re used to seeing growing up.
“Seeing a black king, strong black women, strong female characters, smart characters,” he said of Black Panther. “I think for little girls out there it’s super important to know what true beauty is, it’s on the inside. It’s how you feel about yourself.”
Hit the gallery for more photos from the Unmasked Studios event curated by Brisk.