No matter where Michael B. Jordan goes he always comes back home.
Actor Michael B. Jordan, who portrayed EriK KilLmonger in this winter’s runaway hit Black Panther, came home to Newark just before the movie premiered to host a private screening of his own.
Jordan returned to his alma mater, Newark Arts High School, and invited students and special guests—including church organizations, members of the Boys and Girls Club of America, and Mayor Ras Baraka—to preview the movie, directed by Ryan Coogler and based on Marvel character Black Panther, aka King T’Challa of the fictional African country of Wakanda.
Currently living in California, Jordan, 31, has always kept close to his hometown of Newark on the East Coast. In 2015, Jordan came home to host a special screening of Creed, his most famous film at the time. It was during this visit that Newark Mayor Ras Baraka presented him with the key to the city, a rare and special honor.
Jordan came back most recently to share his excitement about the Black Panther film, the highest grossing superhero movie of all time. At press time, the movie had over $1.25 billion in ticket sales. “To be able to come back to my hometown on this project means the world to me,” he relayed to some of the press on-hand for the screening, explaining that it was a big deal for him to share his career, passion, and love of filmmaking with his community.
“I know how tough Newark is,” he continued. “I know what it’s like to feel trapped, like you don’t have many options or opportunities. Hopefully, this movie will give [the community] a little inspiration, a little motivation, and help drive their ambition to get beyond these city walls.”
Having gotten an early start on his acting career in television, Jordan’s first substantial movie role was in the 2001 sports drama Hardball. He stayed visible on the big and small screens for the next several years, including a season on acclaimed HBO drama The Wire and the TV series Friday Night Lights.
After appearing in Red Tails (2012), a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, Jordan worked with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler for the first time in Fruitvale Station (2013), a film about the controversial police shooting of Oscar Grant. Jordan would go on to appear in a couple of other films, including Fantastic Four (2015), before landing what is considered his breakout role as Adonis Creed in Creed (2015), the last of the Rocky films, also directed by Coogler.
Now a bona fide “A-list” star, Jordan is being courted by Hollywood heavy hitters and international brands looking to have his face associated with their products. But while Jordan is enjoying his time in the spotlight, he remains humble and grateful and with a heart for giving back. And Newark is always happy to return the love.