Michael B. Jordan is gracing the cover of the recent issue of GQ. In it, the New Jersey native gets real with writer Chris Heath on his humble upbringing in Newark to how he feels black men should be portrayed. The 28 year-old actor has had roles on The Wire and Friday Night Lights, and the latest installment of Fantastic Four. In addition to these, he also played Oscar Grant in 2013’s emotionally charged Fruitvale Station, which is about Grant’s murder that took place in San Francisco by a transit cop on New Year’s Eve. And now, he is starring as the lead role in Creed, a follow-up to the Rocky franchise. It’s safe to say that Jordan is on his way to becoming one of Hollywood’s “it” actors.
Peep some highlights from the GQ cover story interview below:
On his hometown and beginnings:
“I’m still very much an East Coast city boy…East Coast, growing up, going to Manhattan gives you a certain sense of just being able to make it. Hustle. Go-getter. Grind it out, you know…I’m from north New Jersey, bro. I love real people, bro. I come from nothing. I come from sleeping in the kitchen with my family with the oven open to keep us warm during winter, you know? When you come from that background, all this extra stuff is just…extra stuff, you know? If somebody’s not real with you, you can tell.”
On the emergence of his career:
“I’ve been doing it for so long—like, sixteen years—and it wasn’t like I got too much too fast. It wasn’t like I blew up overnight. I wasn’t a child star. That wasn’t what it was. It was just something that, you know, I grew into it, and I fell in love with it as it came along. And I kind of saw it for what it was. I’m always good at seeing five, ten steps ahead. Like, really thinking ahead, you know? Reverse engineering whatever it is, you know.”
On his love for telling the black male experience:
“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. It’s more a modern sense of where we are today, and where we want to go in the future. So I try to choose projects somewhere around that space…I feel like a lot of old filmmakers are victims of their own time period. In a way I feel like a certain racer can only take the race up to a certain leg, until they have to pass it off to the next generation to continue that race. I feel like, generationally speaking, there’s a lot of racers that have taken it as far as they can. It’s so interesting, man. There’s no blueprint to what I want to do. You know, we got Leo, we got Tom Hanks, we got Brad Pitt, we got Ben Affleck—they always get the roles and the characters that, you know, fit the mold. When it comes to African-American characters, there’s a huge gap between old school and new school.”
On the rumors around dating Kendall Jenner:
“They see white and black. I don’t. Kendall’s a friend of mine, you know. I don’t know her, like, that well, but I know her enough. People’s perspective on that is what it is. I don’t fucking know. I don’t live my life to make other people happy. It’s so weird, though, right? A lot of black fans were feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, he should have been with a black woman’ and that whole thing. I get it, but on the other hand it’s, like, relax. You know—it’s 2015. It’s okay! People can like one another, not necessarily from the same history or culture or whatever the fuck it is. It’s just the new world, you know what I mean?”
On his relationship status:
“I understand what females want and need, you know. I’m good at that. I don’t know if I’m the guy to give it to them right now. I’m emotionally unavailable. Until I find something that’s so undeniable that I can’t help myself. Other than that, I need to work on making sure my mom is okay. That’s all I care about, honestly. Females, they come and go.”
On how he views his career:
“I’m not chasing money, I’m not chasing fame. I’m out here in my own time doing things that matter to me, and what I feel like would matter to people. That’s honestly it. I want to do roles that fucking people think about. I don’t want people coming to me, ‘I want to pitch you because you’re famous…oh, I see you on TV’—that’s fucking wack. I want to do roles that are like, ‘Oh, man, I have a cousin that went through that…I went through that, or I know what that feels like.’ Like, it just means more.”
For the full interview you can check it out on GQ.