Michael Bakari Jordan just gave us a few more reasons to raise our crush level. The Creed star is covering the October 2015 issue of GQ magazine, and we just learned a whole lot more than expected from his story.
Get his full cover inside, plus how his Hollywood hustle, his singledom, and those damn lips have gotten him to a super successful place in movieland (and TV land).
Yes GAWDT! Those lips, that skin and that new cut boxer's body definitely have our attention these days. Oh, and his acting skills are pretty on point too.
He may have been born in Cali, but he's a Jersey boy through and through. After moving to Newark as a baby, Michael B. Jordan survived the gritty, "hood" (as he calls it) streets thanks to his strict father and hustler mentality. Now, he's all over Hollywood and steady workin' in big comic films like Fantastic Four (yeah it flopped, but so what), to Fruitvale Station to "Friday Night Lights" to Creed.
Michael's also set to star in an adaptation of the memoir Just Mercy, about the African-American attorney Bryan Stevenson who fights on behalf of the innocent and the unfairly incarcerated.
In the new issue of GQ, Michael is sexing up one of three covers (Ryan Reynolds and Rob Lowe are covering the other two). And he's doing it WELL.
Here's 13 of the most interesting things we learned from his cover story --
1. He knows how to hold his tongue and then pop off later, like when he stuck his gum under the table when the restaurant staff made him wait outside despite him having a reservation...and the GQ writer was already sitting at their table.
“Fuck, yeah, goddamn right I did,” he says. “They made me wait outside for no reason. 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.”
2. He's the cutest geek ever.
“I’m heavily into cartoons. Like my geek side, you know,” he says, detailing his manga devotion and how the genre favors underdog stories, “so it kind of speaks to me.”
3. He's a neo-classic man when it comes to portraying black men in America.
“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.”
4. He simultaneously wants to play characters who are written for white men...to prove a point.
"I want to be part of that movement that blurs the line between white and black,” and tells me this: “I told my team after I finished Chronicle [the successful low-budget sci-fi movie that first partnered him with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank] that I only want to go out for roles that were written for white characters. Me playing the role will make it what it is.”
5. He originally auditioned for Bodie in "The Wire".
For The Wire, he originally auditioned for one of the other projects drug hustlers, Bodie, but he was told he was too young. “Then they brought me back in for Wallace,” he says.
6. He credits his stint on "Friday Night Lights" as one of his biggest learning tools.
“It showed that I could handle a storyline. It’s the first time I ever got that much meat. It taught me how to character-build. It didn’t get any awards or nominations, but all the key people in the industry love that show, so when it came to me coming into auditions, it was tremendous. It was a very key show for me.”
7. Bill Cosby played a part in helping in sharpen his acting skills during his guest spot on "The Cosby Show."
“First time I ever got a motivation as an actor, Bill Cosby gave me a thing, like a physical action—said, ‘You care about your hair, you love your hair, I want you to brush your hair throughout the entire thing and don’t stop brushing it. Even when you’re not talking, brush your hair. Okay?’ It just gave me something else to think about, something to chew on moving forward. Like, ‘Okay, this worked alright, he knows what he’s taking about.’ ”
8. His soap opera stint made him never want to play a stereotype again.
“I knew that it was a chess move,” he says. “You work on a show like All My Children—we know what it is, but you’re still able to grow outside of it. It’s the perfect situation. I learned, I grew as an actor, I worked with professionals, I got paid.” He was also playing a part he knew he didn’t want to repeat for his entire career: “No dad, no mom, a fucking stereotypical black role in a soap opera. And I saw the stereotype, so moving forward I was like, ‘Nah, those are the roles I don’t want to play.’ ”
9. He just bought his first house.
Last week, Jordan bought his first house. He’ll be living alone for the first time, apart from a few months solo when he first arrived in Los Angeles as a teenager. Most recently he’s been sharing a West Hollywood place with Justin Nappi, one of the producers on That Awkward Moment. “You know, you can’t have a roommate forever,” he says. “I’m 28. You know, just coming into my own.”
10. He hates all the "extra" attention he's now getting when it comes to his private life.
“I hate it,” he says. “I’m a quiet guy. I’m very to myself. Don’t like attention. I’m getting a lot more now. I’m extremely quiet, bro.” He echoes what he said earlier. “All the extra shit is extra shit, you know.” And then, unbidden, he clarifies what he considers part of the extra shit. “The females,” he says, “they’ll always be there. Like, honestly, bro. Oh, my God. Female-wise from now? I ain’t got to do too much work. And it’s weird, because I’m the same guy. I haven’t fucking changed, right? I don’t look any different. I haven’t done anything different.” He pauses, reconsiders this. “Okay, maybe a blockbuster film.”
11. He's single because he wants to dedicate all his time to his career. [Check out THIS video where he acts out how he can fulfill women's fantasies.]
I’m pretty sure the women won’t say that’s good, but for me it’s like I can’t have any regrets and I have to know that I gave everything I had to making my family okay. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me is my family, bro. I come from nothing, so it’s like my family, they came with me. That’s all I care about. Couldn’t give a fuck less about anything else. My mom, my dad, my sister, my brother—they’re good, I’m good. They’re not good, I’m not good. I put everything I had into everything, so once they’re good I can start living a little. My mid-thirties I can live a little. And I’m so okay with that. I’m cool with that....They want what they want, I tell them what I want. It doesn’t quite work out that well. That’s why I’m by myself.”
"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.”
12. He gets why people were mad about the Kendall Jenner relationship rumors, but they weren't true.
“It’s the world we live in,” says Jordan. “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?”
13. He gets gully when he's had a few too many tequila cocktails.
“Physically...fuck Jake, fuck Gyllenhaal [of the recently released boxing film Southpaw], fuck all that shit...we want to come for him, look better than him...you know, I’m competitive, so in my head it was, I’ma work harder than all of them. Fuck that.”
“I’m fading...I’m kind of like...I’m drunk, for sure.”
Check out more pics of Mike HERE schoolin' folks on how a man should dress for the weekend.
Also, gead over to GQ for Michael's full cover story. He takes the writer to his "hood as f*ck" (as he called it) hometown of Newark, then talks about drag racing and avoiding police as a teen, his super strict father who gave him "necessary beatings," regretting what he MAY have said (while tipsy) about the Fantastic Four movie, and more.
Photo: Peggy Sirota for GQ