Wonderland.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

The actor talks with Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo on building a legacy, uplifting the new generation and starting an OnlyFans.

Michael B Jordan wearing beige COACH coat and trousers for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland

All clothing and accessories by COACH

Michael B Jordan wearing beige COACH coat and trousers for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland
All clothing and accessories by COACH

Taken from the Autumn 2020 issue. Order your copy now.

With integrity and charm that have seen him become not only one of the most respected, but well-loved people in Hollywood, Michael B. Jordan is using his power to be the change he wants to see — not just in the stories he brings to life on-screen, but by implementing systemic change in the industry and creating opportunities for the next generation to tell theirs.

Since his breakout role in Fruitvale Station in 2013, Jordan has graced our screens with an eclectic range of nuanced and powerful performances, from Rocky spin-off sequel Creed, to the hugely impactful Marvel superhero movie Black Panther. Most recently he starred in Just Mercy — a film based on the memoir of Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative — on which he partnered with Warner Media to set up a first-of-its-kind company-wide inclusion policy. “This project is a lot bigger than myself. It’s not about me,” he said at the NAACP Awards in February, in his acceptance speech for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his portrayal of Stevenson. “It’s about every person that’s wrongfully convicted that’s sitting in a jail cell right now, who’s been wrongfully accused, been unfairly sentenced.”

Jordan executive produced the project too, and set up his own production company, Outlier Society, in 2016. As one of the first to publicly adopt an inclusion rider, Outlier Society focuses on magnifying a range of diverse voices in the entertainment industry, while the Outlier Society Fellowship Programme works to build a new, fairer foundation for those following in his footsteps.

This year he also started the #ChangeHollywood initiative with nonprofit civil rights advocacy organisation Color of Change, setting out objectives to amplify Black voices, invest in anti-racist projects and reinvest police funds in Black communities. “The collab we launched today — creatives on the inside, advocates on the outside — illuminates a roadmap to change. And we’ll build resources to help it happen,” he tweeted in July. “We are all accomplices in this fight to transform Hollywood. Our power is beyond measure. Our stories shift culture.”

In the world of fashion, Jordan is a global ambassador for Coach, featuring in their new campaign celebrating the work of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and their fall campaign centring on family. Interpreting the word to mean community, togetherness and those we choose to support us, the project involves a cast of his chosen family doing everyday tasks in places that feel like home. Taking the collaboration beyond fashion, Jordan has previously participated in the brand’s philanthropic initiative Dream It Real, where he visited students at a high school in his hometown, New Jersey. Through the Coach Foundation, Dream It Real works to break cycles of inequality and empower young people, and has expanded this year to partner with Bottom Line, Year Up and The Opportunity Network with the aim of making higher education more accessible to those from underrepresented communities.

Connecting with his longtime friend Jerry Lorenzo, designer and founder of cult luxury street-wear label Fear of God, here Jordan reflects on his growth over the past seven years and the lessons he has learnt in 2020, the mission statement he’s setting out for the future and the legacy he wants to leave behind.

Michael B Jordan wearing grey COACH shirt for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland
Michael B Jordan wearing yellow COACH shirt for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland

All clothing and accessories by COACH

Michael B Jordan wearing grey COACH shirt for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland
All clothing and accessories by COACH
Michael B Jordan wearing yellow COACH shirt for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland

MBJ: What up brother!
JL: What up dude? You got the real Creed stache now. That’s hard, that’s how you should have come out in Creed I.

MBJ: This is new territory right here!
JL: I’m not mad at it…

MBJ: Now if I can only get my beard growing strong like yours, I’ll be good.
JL: Nah, you’ve just got to let the stache live.

MBJ: Congrats on everything man, that new line is fire. You’ve just been taking it to new heights every step of the way. I’m always rooting for you.
JL: You know we be having those talks. We’ve got to take this thing higher and higher every chance we get.

MBJ: You’re really inspiring so many people. I hear references here and there in regular conversation, and it’s always the example.
JL: I appreciate it. I’m trying to do exactly what you’re doing — take it to a place where it’s beyond the gift, and it’s a product of the dedication more so than it is what God’s given us. Anybody can get hot, anybody can have a line, anybody can get a role, but where do you really take it? I think that’s how you approach your craft, and I’m trying to approach my craft in a similar way. So I got the call about this and I thought man, I’d love to take advantage of the opportunity to holla at MJ real quick!

MBJ: I appreciate you taking the time. How’s the family and everyone, everybody good?
JL: Yeah, everybody’s good. You know the world is a crazy time. […] As we’re working towards what our legacy is going to be, it’s crazy to think we’re already in the middle of defining what that is. The scary thing is, what we’re doing right now is a part of that definition. It’s not something far away that we’re working towards.

MBJ: We’re right in the thick of it, exactly. When we were younger, we looked up to the ancestors and the freedom fighters and people like that like they’re such a distant thing. Then you realise they were in their 20s and their 30s, and that was their reality. They did what they had to do in the moment, and that was their form of resistance and solidarity and trying to find their truth. It’s crazy. These moments sometimes, you’ve got to stop and think ‘Damn, this is it for us. This is our version of that.’ It keeps you honest, and you’ve got to check yourself — what kind of man you want to be, what side of history you want to stand on, what kind of legacy you want to leave behind. ‘Cause we’re writing it, we’re writing it right now.
JL: Yeah. I think you’ve been doing a great job, so congrats.

Michael B. Jordan wearing long beige COACH coat for Wonderland's Autumn 2020 issue.

All clothing and accessories by COACH

Michael B. Jordan wearing long beige COACH coat for Wonderland's Autumn 2020 issue.
All clothing and accessories by COACH

MBJ: Thank you.
JL: I know it’s only going to get tougher…

MBJ: We built for it. We gon’ get through it, man, we gon’ get through it.
JL: So talking about quarantine a little bit, how has it been for you?

MBJ: Quarantine for me has been hectic, but at the same time it’s given me the chance to actually slow down a bit […] I just became an uncle, little Lennox. I’m changing diapers and stuff. So for me, it’s time well spent at home being around my family.
JL: Can you talk about some of your learning curves recently, and advice you would give young people who are looking to you as a role model?

MBJ: I think [the] learning curve, for me, has been not listening to my instinct as strongly as I should have — that feeling in your gut — and maybe not speaking out as much […] That’s one thing that I definitely learned over the last six months, to rely more on my instincts and intuition. I would give that advice to people coming up and the next generation, to use your voice and to speak out on things that you truly believe in. Because win, lose or draw, you can go to bed at night knowing that you lived your truth.
JL: We’re presented with algorithms and all types of information, strategies and frame-works in order to attack — whether it’s our career, or opportunities. You can put that against your instinct, but I think making a decision independently of your convictions really puts you in a tough place to be at peace. Being able to make decisions from conviction and instinct, win, lose or draw, you’re at peace.

MBJ: Exactly.
JL: That’s what we’re all really hoping for, to really be at peace. And so I think that’s tre-mendous advice.

MBJ: Because that feeling the next morning, like ‘Damn, I should have did that!’, or that feel-ing of slight regret, that ain’t a good feeling to walk around with. I would have rather took the L for whatever reason and say ‘Alright, I learned from that’, rather than being like ‘Damn, I knew I was right’. It’s a different feeling.
JL: Being a public figure now, and this role that you’re in, is light years ahead of where it was even when we first met six, seven years ago. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it translates into the things that you choose to work on and be a part of?

MBJ: I swear this year has been so revealing and enlightening in so many different ways. I feel like we’re often looked at as gatekeepers now, right? Like we “made it” and we’re here. And now it’s like, as gatekeepers, the responsibility we have to usher in some kind of change when it comes to producing films and the stories that we’re telling, how we’re putting on for the culture, giving opportunities to others that we might not have had, holding brands and partners accountable for being progressive. Using our platform to push things further along is something that I kind of thrive in and I’m starting to take real ownership over. It’s like I’m standing on the past generation’s shoulders, I want this next generation to stand on top of mine. I want them to be a little bit taller, see further, speak louder, be better. So in the position I’m in, I’m just trying to lay down a solid foundation for them to stand on.

Michael B. Jordan wearing long beige COACH coat for Wonderland's Autumn 2020 issue.
Michael B. Jordan wears COACH for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland

All clothing and accessories by COACH

Michael B. Jordan wearing long beige COACH coat for Wonderland's Autumn 2020 issue.
All clothing and accessories by COACH
Michael B. Jordan wears COACH for the Autumn 2020 issue of Wonderland

JL: Just constantly carrying that generational perspective through all that you do. What role or project has been the most meaningful for you?
MBJ: I would say probably Fruitvale Station for me, personally, meant the most… Ah, so hard! You’re trying to look at the body of work as a collective. I try not to do projects as one-offs anymore. It’s like, how does it fold into my creative story, my creative narrative? When people look back at it and look at the roles and films that I’ve done, what am I trying to say as a catalogue, not just as a one-off? But Fruitvale for me started so much, as a Black man, as a man. My first project that I ever was the lead, lead character to carry a film. Up until that point I didn’t even know if I was a leading man. I didn’t have that self-confidence. And it started my relationship with Ryan [Coogler] in a big way. I learned so much — how to really make a movie with nothing, with minimal resources and funds. We shot that for like 900 grand and some duct tape, we put that thing together. So for me, it kind of sparked the idea of less is more, and what you can do with no excuses. And obviously what it means for what’s going on today and what, unfortunately, is going to continue to happen. It was the first real movie that really put that on blast and really said a lot, so I take special pride in that on a lot of different levels.

JL: That’s amazing, man. Switching lanes, heading over to fashion, you’ve done sexy campaigns with Coach over the past two years. How important is that collaboration to you? Are you doing more in the realm of fashion? And how has fashion been another extension of your brand, who you are and all that you represent?
MBJ: First of all, Coach is a great partner on a lot of different levels. From my input on capsules, being able to really put my fingerprint on it and not let it be cookie-cutter was really important. I love animation and anime, so to be able to have an anime-inspired capsule meant a lot to me and felt organic in that way. And they really double down on my fellowships and my philanthropy. I really like using that as a way to usher in the next fashionistas and cats that want to get into fashion, be able to give them internships within the company and all that good stuff. They do a lot on that front. As far as my fashion thumbprint, I’m still figuring out what that is. This is my first kind of dabble in it and it’s been a great partnership so far. I used to look at clothes as an afterthought, because I would always be on set working, putting on somebody else’s clothes […] I didn’t have a real appreciation for it, but I’ve always admired it from afar. So to be able to be a part of that process, something that you do and that’s your life, just a little glimpse of that with the capsule was super cool, and something that I look forward to doing more of in the future and growing in that space.

JL: Alright, well I got some internships available, if you’ve got some cameos I can may-be trade…
MBJ: OK, alright. I like that, I like that.

JL: You can design a couple of pieces and I can get my shine on… Last question, do you want to touch on your company Outlier Society for a quick second? Why is it important to have your own company? Obviously Fear of God is independent and I have my own platform — not that answering to anyone is wrong, but being able to have a platform where you creatively have the autonomy is something that I’ve found to be extremely priceless.
MBJ: Preach, brother. You said a keyword — autonomy. To be able to have your own voice and the ability to execute on things. Going from background, to actor, to producer, to CEO of your own company, it’s like growing into your own voice and being able to tell stories that I like, that I think will be impactful. That was really, really important to me. And then trying to build something great. I want to build something that can last longer than my physical body. That when I’m gone there’s a blueprint, there’s a foundation, there’s a mission statement, there’s a way of thinking and a process that’s still going to be here. I like building things, I like connecting the dots, I like multi-hyphen-ate things. I saw a way to kind of start an ecosystem and that was one of my major building blocks, major pieces. Got a few more coming down the pipeline, but that one was the crucial first one for myself, and being able to give people opportunities. I think you’re defined by who you help, and who you put on.

JL: You’re defined by what you give away, bro, not what you keep.
MBJ: Amen. I love talking with you, bro, thanks for doing this. Whenever we talk it always feels good.

JL: I know your days are crazy just like mine but that definitely was a bright spot in my day. Good to see you. That stache dude, that thing is hard! That’s that real Creed right there!
MBJ: I’m about to start an OnlyFans with this joker before I get rid of it…

Photography
Blair Caldwell
Fashion
Toni-Blaze Ibekwe and Jason Rembert
Grooming
Janice Kinjo
Fashion Assistant
Michael Lund
Photo Assistants
Chase Tarca & Leo Del la Riva
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
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