Michael B. Jordan joins ESSENCE.com in conversation about his spirituality, his mother's battle with Lupus, and why he believes his incremental successes in Hollywood —from The Wire to most recently, Fruitvale Station—have helped him mature as an actor, and as a man.
Do you consider yourself spiritual, religious?
Spiritual. Hands down. Grew up in church. I've always been the person to ask, ‘Why, why, why? Where's the proof?’ I've always believed in a higher power, something bigger than myself. I think you would be foolish to not feel that way.
What’s the last thing that made you remember to be grateful?
Just recently. My mom has Lupus. She's always smiling even when I know she's not feeling her best. She just moved up to Los Angeles a couple months ago, so she's closer to me now. It reminds me to be grateful. Same thing with my Dad. He’s a diabetic and has complications with that from time to time. Being grateful for the things I have, family that I have around. It always kind of puts things in perspective for me.
Finish the sentence, "I am happiest when ..."
I'm happiest when around my family, and that's just like blood family, extended family, that's my business family. I'm happiest when I'm around people that genuinely have love for me. And vice-versa. There's no pressure. I think that's when I'm happiest.
Do you have a quote, proverb or scripture that you find yourself frequently looking to?
The 23rd and 91st Psalm for me. Also, my dash. I was born in 1987, dash question mark. The dash between my birth and what’s next is what I try to work on every day. Doing the most with my dash. Making a difference. You're only on this earth for a short amount of time, you just want to do something that you can leave behind. Something that ensures you're never forgotten. That's what I think about a lot.
You've been doing this for 15 years.
I started when I was 11 or 12. Doing this for 15, 16 years, man, that's a long time. I think what kind of helped keep my sanity was I never got too much too fast. It was always stepping stones, small success and I was able to grow with my work. I was able to mature as a man. I didn't have any crazy child actor stories. I'm not going bald.
You come off as balanced.
Very balanced. I've been in L. A. 8 years. I moved up there when I was 19, as soon as I finished high school and I finished my run on All My Children. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something different. I wanted to do film. I wanted to see if I could do it. Thank God I did.
Michael B. Jordan is currently filming Fantastic Four.