While many people may see messages of positivity on laptop case stickers and Instagram captions, in Coach’s new Spring/Summer 2021 campaign, Michael B. Jordan empowers positivity in himself, and others, through forward action and gratitude. “One of my mantras that I have that speaks to my family and my close family friends is ‘Try to be better than you were yesterday. Move forward with intent and positivity to compose your will on the upcoming days ahead,’” says the actor in an exclusive interview with L'OFFICIEL about the "Coach It Forward" campaign and his path to creating a brighter future.
“For Spring, I wanted to evolve our Coach family story and speak to the way in which collective action and optimism can change things for the better,” says Stuart Vevers, Creative Director of Coach. “At the start of a new year and new chapter for so many, it’s important to put ourselves out there and support and recognize one another.
The global campaign, which also features Jennifer Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Yang Zi, and Kōki, focuses on honoring the people who impact our lives and encourages customers to “Coach It Forward'' by showing appreciation to the significant people they see everyday. A selected few of these videos will appear in an exclusive Zoom call alongside the cast thanking their own loved ones for their daily support. For the Black Panther actor, there’s several people on that list.
“When you step back, you see that we’re all the sum of the people who have helped us along,” says Jordan. “I think of my mom and dad, my family, friends, the people I work with, and how they have all supported me and inspired me. I loved having this opportunity to lift up people who are important to me and recognize how their passion and positivity has moved my world forward.”
After a year marked by civil unrest, a global pandemic, and nationwide protests for racial injustice, the desire to find comfort in focusing on other more lighthearted passions is tempting. For Jordan, botany is his escape of choice. “I love gardening and growing things. I love greenhouses and you know, planting seeds, watching them grow,” People's Sexist Man Alive explains. “It's peaceful you know? Walking into a greenhouse and smelling that air and vegetation is something that makes me smile.”
However, when it comes to producing a tangible change, Jordan believes the only way to move forward is by reflecting on the past. While daunting, his concerns are assuaged by the next generation, saying, “They are the future.”
He continues, “I think we're in good hands. You see all these leaders that are stepping up to the plate, these people who are stepping up to answer the call, the beacons of light of positivity and change.”
A hallmark of the “Coach It Forward” campaign is inspiring positivity through “collective action,” something to which Jordan is no stranger. In 2018, the Creed actor was one of the first major voices to adopt an inclusion rider, a contract stipulation requiring inclusivity for the cast and crew of his projects, for both himself and his production company, Outlier Society Productions. In July 2020, he also launched #ChangeHollywood with Color of Change, an initiative aimed at untangling the web of systemic racism in the entertainment industry.
As an arbiter of change, Jordan’s actions, alongside fellow actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Brie Larson, encouraged WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros., to follow suit by enacting their own inclusion rider. Nevertheless, Jordan believes there is still room for growth in the industry.
“Being on the front lines of that movement, of this movement, it's something that honestly, it's infectious. You’ve got to hold people accountable and I think when you set the example, and you lead by example, people start to catch on,” says Jordan. “Slowly, but surely, we are starting to spread this message and people are looking for ways to be better and to change and you see that from onset practices to production hires, to casting, to just HR. You see it from the top to bottom and I think we're moving in the right direction even though we have a lot more to do.”
Not only will the upcoming Without Remorse star's future projects feature diverse hiring practices, but also his own personal craftmanship. While many production sets were shut down during the early months of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, that has not stopped the 33-year old from working. In fact, the quarantine at home has given the actor time for what he refers to as some of his “most creative work," like pre-production for his new film, Journal for Jordan, with Denzel Washington and Chanté Adams.
Jordan explains, “That's something we've been growing and producing over the past couple of years, but especially this past year through quarantine, we've really got a lot of the groundwork done, so now we're just going out there to execute."