Every so often, a young actor with profile spreads in publications is declared the next big star. For Michael B. Jordan, we believe the hype.

In a cover story for Vanity Fair magazine titled “Michael B. Jordan’s Technicolor Dreams,” the charisma-clad Creed 2 star gets candid about race, expanding his brand beyond acting and a harrowing experience he had with the police.

Photo: Cass Bird/Vanity Fair
Photo: Cass Bird/Vanity Fair

“I’m first and foremost a black man, for sure, but what I’m trying to do, and what I’m trying to represent and build, is universal,” the New Jersey native told Vanity Fair. “We live in the times where everything is based around race, and for me, it’s like, I get it, I understand. It just makes everything so loaded.”

Though he’s working toward being a film star with the universal appeal of Hollywood’s icons, like Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Denzel Washington, he’s still keenly aware of the ways in which race impact not only his career but his life.

He shared a time when he was stopped and detained by a cop in Los Angeles years earlier for speeding on the way to LAX. “I think I mighta said something slick,” says Jordan. “‘Cause it was the end of the month, I was like, ‘Oh, you guys trying to meet a quota.’ I said something like that. That probably didn’t help me at all.”

Fortunately, Jordan only missed his flight and the situation didn’t escalate any further, but the scenario is an all-too familiar one for African Americans. The stop eerily echoes that of the ill-fated Oscar Grant, whom he portrayed in the 2013 acclaimed film Fruitvale Station.

Jordan’s since gone on to play a superhero in Fantastic Four and the super villain Erik Killmonger in the $1.3 Billion box office record-breaker Black Panther earlier this year. In his interview, he paid homage to those Black Hollywood icons who paved the way for his career.

“They broke down those barriers for us,” Jordan says. “Now it’s time for us to take what they did and take it to the next level.”

Jordan’s latest film, Creed 2, is slated to premiere in theaters on November 21.