Mickalene Thomas for TIME

I remember watching Fruitvale Station and thinking, “Who is this kid?” Michael B. Jordan just has a presence—and an energy and a talent—that stands out. It’s refreshing. What I’ve learned about him in the short time I’ve known him has led me to admire his work ethic, his intensity and his desire for excellence. He’s a go-getter, from the roles he chooses—including his powerful portrayal of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson in 2019’s Just Mercy—to the way he uses his production company, Outlier Society, to push the cause of representation in Hollywood forward. He already is a force in front of the camera, but he’s going to be an even bigger force behind the scenes. When it comes to Michael, we should expect the unexpected. I’m happy to be a small part of his journey, and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out. He’s the next generation, and it’s good to know we’re in good hands.

Washington is a Tony- and Academy Award-winning actor

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