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‘I’m Never Going to Make Everybody Happy’: Michael B. Jordan Talks About Public Perception and Leaving Behind a Legacy

Even a pandemic can put a quickly evolving career like Michael B. Jordan’s on pause. However, like many people stuck in the pandemic holding pattern, the actor used the time to plan, prepare, and postulate about his privacy and the kind of legacy he wants to leave behind.

In Jordan’s recent interview with Men’s Health, he opens up about the danger of pleasing others and what he has learned about self-consciousness and celebrity.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 22: Michael B. Jordan attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/FilmMagic)

Jordan pants himself as typically private, except when he’s not. While he’s currently in the headlines for dating Lori Harvey, he said he grappled with the question of how much of himself to share. Slowly but surely, he realized that while the public could be intimidating, in the end he had to live his life on his own terms.

“For all the success that I’ve had, there’s going to be negative reactions and opinions thrown at me. That just comes with it,” he explained. “When you’re younger, you’re just frustrated, but when you start to realize that this is what it is, you start to understand.”

“I’m never going to make everybody happy,” he added. “People are always going to have their opinions about me. People can make up something completely false that has no f—ing substance or anything, and there’s going to be 100,000 people that are going to believe it, and that’s going to be their opinion of me.”

“I can’t do anything about that, and I’ve just got to accept that and keep moving in my purpose. People that know me know my heart. But people that know me for my work … they know what I allow them to know. The fact that I’ve been so closed off about a lot of parts of my life was a personal choice. As I’ve gotten older and a little more mature and comfortable in my own skin, I’ve become less concerned about it.”

The “Creed” star also revealed that he has utilized this period of his life to learn and grow into a better person, personally and professionally.

“[This past year] was just me really becoming a man, you know,” he said. “That’s such a cliché, overused term, and it has a lot of baggage to it. But I think when personal purpose and meaning align, it allows you to be a man. I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years . … Now I get the opportunity to lead by example.”

And Jordan is leading — he’s starring in blockbuster films, as well as launching a production company like Outlier Society, which enables underrepresented actors to have a more level playing field in the Hollywood industry by mandating an inclusion rider. Even with all of the projects on his plate, the film star said he has thought a lot about what he will have to show for his life and accomplishments.

“I’ve always been a person that tried to be present but also live in the future,” he said. “Usually when you shoot projects and movies, when you finish, it’s done and over with. You kind of check out. Then you’re on to the next thing, and you don’t really talk about the past thing until you do a press tour or something like that. You kind of let go of it as an artist [when] you give it to the world. It’s for everybody else now.”

“But I think about legacy a lot,” he continued. “What I leave behind is something that I think about a lot. This past year brought a lot of that to the forefront of my brain. Everybody’s had their share of loss in one way or another. I lost a friend in Chadwick [Boseman]. There are a lot of things that I want to accomplish, and I know time is limited and life is short, [so] I try to not take it for granted. It’s really made me focus on that.”

Jordan is indeed accomplishing even more things, as it was formally announced on Wednesday that “Creed III” would be his directorial debut.

“Directing has always been an aspiration, but the timing had to be right,” he said in a statement. “’Creed III’ is that moment — a time in my life where I’ve grown more sure of who I am, holding agency in my own story, maturing personally, growing professionally, and learning from the Greats like Ryan Coogler, most recently Denzel Washington, and other top tier directors I respect. All of which sets the table for this moment.

“This franchise and in particular the themes of ‘Creed III’ are deeply personal to me. I look forward to sharing the next chapter of Adonis Creed’s story with the awesome responsibility of being its director and namesake.”

Creed III is projected to release in theaters on Nov. 23, 2022.

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