2. “The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people.”

3. “Savor the taste of your triumphs today, don’t just swallow them all whole without digesting what is actually happening here. Look down over what you conquered and appreciate what God has brought you through.”

4. “The best advice about getting older? Just be thankful you’re not dead!”

5. “Receiving an award for playing a superhero is amazing, but it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes that we have in real life.”

6. “Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

7. “I think you realize how much you need to have people that you love. It’s not as much about them loving you—it’s about you needing to love people.”

8. “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.’”

9. “When you pray for something, it can actually happen and that is powerful.”

10. “Colonialism is the cousin of slavery.”

11. “People don’t want to experience change; they just want to wake up, and it’s different.”

12. “You’re not free unless you can show the good and the bad, all sides of them. So to me, when I play a character, it’s important that I can show every aspect of them.”

13. “Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it.”

14. “You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.”

15. “When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education—you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”

16. “When you invest in a seed, watching it grow without you, that is a bitter pill to swallow.”

17. “I’m not afraid to work.”

18. “Guys are natural problem solvers—they like to have strategies.”

19. “One of the first things I was taught as an actor was, ‘Don’t judge the character.’”

20. “Sometimes your grades don’t give a real indication of what your greatness might be.”

21. “Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you need to fulfill.”

22. “The industry looks for white actors and actresses, but it’s not the same for Black actors. We have to really put the work in.”

23. “I feel that I’m living my purpose. But the thing about purpose is that it unfolds to you more and more every day.”

24. “I try to look at every role the same way, regardless of whether the character is real or the character is fantasy. I always start from myself, because you have to know yourself first.”

25. “I truly believe there’s a truth that needs to enter the world at a particular time.”

26. “I started out as a writer and a director. I started acting because I wanted to know how to relate to the actors. When people ask me what I do, I don’t really say that I’m an actor, because actors often wait for someone to give them roles.”

27. “When it comes down to it, I’d rather have an action figure than a Golden Globe.”

28. “When you play characters, you shouldn’t just be putting on their characteristics—you should be finding it inside yourself.”

29. “A superhero movie is only as great as its villains.”

30. “I said yes too much. I said yes to certain projects that weren’t for me. It was somebody else’s vision and somebody else’s dream and somebody else’s artistic endeavor, but it didn’t necessarily fit in my grand scheme.”

31. “You can say you worked hard, but you can’t say you deserved it. You can say you wished for it and prayed for it, but you can’t say you made it happen.”

32. “Everybody is the hero in their own story—you should be the hero in your own story. You should see yourself conquering the dramatic action of whatever you’re trying to do so that when you get to a crisis, you know how to deal with it. You should be able to do that. There are people that come in to help you with your story, but you have to be the person who deals with the conflicts that are in place. Even if you pray to God, God expects you to do some things.”

33. “There’s a plethora of stories in our culture that haven’t been told because Hollywood didn’t believe they were viable. It would be cool to see slices of history that you haven’t seen with African figures. Like Africans in Europe—the Moors in Spain. Or if you go to Portugal, they have statues of Black people all over the place. So, not only have we been here, but we’ve directly affected everything that you think is European.”

34. “You might have one thing in your head, but the things you’re doing don’t really lead down the right road, necessarily. When you’re young, you don’t want to hear that. You think you can do everything, be all things.”

35. “Sometimes that’s the irony of life that during the most difficult moments you look back on it and you realize how much you enjoyed it—how much you could celebrate it.”

36. “You could be living in what was revealed to you at a particular time, and then you might get stagnated because there’s more that you’re supposed to do. It doesn’t just stop as you do one thing. I think it’s about being open to what you’re supposed to do at this moment and not getting stuck in the past. Purpose is not related to career or career. It’s related to what God put inside you that you’re supposed to give to the world.”

37. “I don’t know what your future is, but if you’re willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory—then you will not regret it.”

38. “When completing a long climb one first experiences dizziness, disorientation, and shortness of breath due to the high altitude. But once you become accustomed to the climb, your mind opens up to the tranquility of the triumph. Oftentimes, the mind is flooded with realizations that were, for some reason, harder to come to when you were at a lower elevation.”

39. “At this moment, most of you need some realizations because right now you have some big decisions to make. Right now, I urge you to—in your breath, in your eyes, in your consciousness—invest in the importance of this moment. And cherish it.”

40. “There’s actually a couple of kids that I’ve connected with while I was shooting Black Panther and I would literally, when I was tired, I would just think of them. Think about them seeing the movie.”

41. “The projects that I end up doing, that I want to be involved with in any way, have always been projects that will be impactful, for the most part, to my people—to Black people.”

42. “I would love to have an ocean of love right now. That said, the number-one rule of acting is, ‘Do not seek approval from the audience.’ People don’t realize that. You can’t do stuff to get applause. You have to live in the truth.”

43. “Fearlessness means taking the first step, even if you don’t know where it will take you. It means being driven by a higher purpose, rather than by applause. It means knowing that you reveal your character when you stand apart more than when you stand with the crowd.”

44. “Even after I became involved in theater and involved in TV and film, I had this sort of idea that Hollywood was off-limits. There was something about L.A., the mystique of it and fear of it.”

45. “What they don’t realize is the greatest conflict you will ever face will be the conflict with yourself.”

46. “That’s why you have the people around you because they represent different parts of you. You get to hear your arguments that are happening internally amongst them.”

47. “I would go through these cycles of being really, really focused on work, and not being around anyone, to being around everyone. And that could be distracting. It was nothing or everything.”

48. “There’s nothing more stressful than your stomach growling.”

49. “Sometimes when you’re acting, you only need a little bit of something to sort of channel or, you know, transport into a place.”

50. “Every year, Hollywood is looking for that new, white leading man and new white starlet that audiences fall in love with. But they’re not looking for the next Denzel Washington, , or Sidney Poitier.”

51. “I’m an artist. Artists don’t need permission to work. Regardless of whether I’m acting or not, I write. I write when I’m tired in fact because I believe your most pure thoughts surface.”

52. “I just think people have been very gracious and welcoming me on set, and even off set.”

53. “When I met Rachel Robinson for the first time, she was a regal woman, and she was like a in that first meeting.”

54. “As a director, it is important to understand the actor’s process.”

55. “When you’re doing a character, you want to know the full landscape. You want to know them spiritually, mentally, and physically.”

56. “I think there’s a difference between a working actor, a movie star, and a celebrity. They’re all three different things.”

57. “I got scars from every film I’ve done, every TV show.”

58. “I remember my first agent telling me because they found me as an actor, but I was probably more interested in writing and maybe directing—they were like, ‘Well, you can’t do both things.’ And I was like, ‘I’m gonna show you.’”

59. “There’s this thing—if you’re making movies and you’re doing well—people start to say, oh, he’s the next Denzel or he’s that. Making your success be based upon the idea that there can only be one of you. We, as actors, we talk about this. We talk about how debilitating that is—how negative it is. It’s also frightening to a certain degree because it divides and conquers—it puts us against each other. So, I root for everybody because I know that if they do well, the truth is, it presents an opportunity for me.”

60. “In television, you don’t have a lot of time to spend with the role or the script. Typically you get a script a week prior to shooting. Sometimes it’s even less time, not enough time to dream about the role.”

61. “On TV, you’re basically shooting an episode in 10 to 14 days; 14 days is a luxury situation. And in film, you have anywhere from a month to three months, or it can be even longer than that, depending on what the production is.”

62. “We live in a world where people can ridicule you at the push of the button. They can question you at the push of a button.”

63. “For me, being a complete artist means not necessarily just being in front of the camera, but being behind the camera or being the originator or creator of something.”

64. “I majored in directing. However, I did spend some time at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, so I am somewhat well-versed in African Studies.”

65. “I can’t even imagine something being more fun than playing James Brown onstage.”

66. “As an African-American actor, a lot of our stories haven’t been told.”

67. “People of African descent, most of us grew up accepting and loving Spider-Man. I still love Spider-Man. I still love the Incredible Hulk. I still have those characters that were white role models, superheroes, heroes—whatever you want to call it. You basically had no choice but to accept those.”

68. “I’m from Anderson, S.C., but I grew up in the South. So I know what it is to ride to school and have Confederate flags flying from trucks in front of me and behind me, to see a parking lot full of people with Confederate flags and know what that means. I’ve been stopped by the police for no reason.”

69. “There are two little kids, Ian and Taylor, who recently passed from cancer. And throughout our filming of Black Panther, I was communicating with them knowing that they were both terminal. What their parents said to me was that they’re just trying to hold on until this movie comes. To a certain degree, you hear them say that and you’re like, ‘Wow—I gotta get up and go to the gym; I gotta go to work; I gotta learn these lines; I gotta work on these accents.’ It’s a humbling experience because you’re like, ‘This can’t mean that much to them,’ but seeing how the world has taken this on and how it’s taken on a life of its own—I realized that they anticipated something great.”

70. “Once you start getting big roles as an actor, everything pays. So what are you making decisions on? It’s about the director or the script or whatever. But before you reach that point, you’re taking jobs with, say, a theater company, in spite of the fact that it’s not paying your bills.”

71. “I think the most stressful time of my life was when I was in New York, and I didn’t have money to pay my rent.”

72. “To be young, gifted, and Black. We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet you are young, gifted, and Black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. That is what we went to work with every day. Because we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

73. “I don’t read reviews, but I do get feedback from my peers and people I know, like other actors and directors and producers.”

74. “I might have had too many friends in my 20’s. I probably said yes too much, and then I had to learn how to say no. How to get away in order to work on stuff.”

75. “I was raised in a sort of village. I have a huge family, and I think there is strength in that. It helped me to deal with some of the complications of living in the South because I always felt like I belonged, no matter what.”

76. “I wasn’t a comic book geek as a kid. I read some, but it was just like, ‘Oh, I have this comic book here.’ It wasn’t like I was collecting them.”

77. “It was a big thing for me to read Black writers. ‘Fences,’ by August Wilson. ‘s ‘Amen Corner.’ ‘The Fire Next Time.’ ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X,’ of course.”

78. “I’d taken, like, maybe some African dance classes a couple of times, but I wasn’t a musical theater person at all.”

79. “I can definitely dance, but pedestrian dancing.”

80. “I thought I would draw or paint or be an architect. I was always drawing portraits. My put me in art classes in the summer.”

81. “I love all types of music. Jazz, classical, blues, rock, hip-hop. I often write scripts for instrumentals like a hip-hop artist. Music inspires me to write. It’s either music playing or completely silent. Sometimes distant sound fuels you. In New York, there’s always a buzzing beneath you.”

82. “I’m the kind of guy who comes home and checks scores for everything. I’m a sports fan in general, so I pretty much keep up with who’s ahead in a division and everything that’s going on.”

83. “I played Little League , but I also played basketball. Basketball was my primary sport. When you play basketball seriously, a lot of times, through the summer season, you continue playing. So that replaced me playing baseball.”

84. “I know that baseball players have certain rituals or habits that they develop because sometimes it becomes somewhat superstitious if they get on a streak and want to do the same thing over and over again.”

85. “Baseball players need strength but also the ability to make fast-paced, explosive movements, so their training is all about strengthening the tendons around the bone and the joint so you don’t tear the muscles from the bones. And so the muscles will have endurance and stability. And flexibility, which helps you throw the ball harder or have the snap to hit a ball. Or to take off quickly to steal a base.”

86. “I’m not so keen on letting my car drive itself.”

87. “They should probably have a James Brown aerobic tape. You would lose a lot of weight.”

88. “I don’t have a smart house. My house is very dumb.”

89. “I’m not really interested in being a superhero. That’s not a box I’ve been trying to check off.”

90. “Each movie you do about a real person is like a painting, and you choose certain things in the painting that you want to pull out and you want to show.”

91. “There’s the phrase ‘making America great again,’ but how did we make America great? Who did it? It was Thurgood Marshall who did it. It was Thurgood Marshall who made America live up to its constitution, to its dream. He pushed the envelope to make sure that we were equal.”

92. “When you make movies, it’s such an important period of time, when you look back at each one of them. You want to be able to say that you did something that was a challenge and that changed you.”

93. “People have said, ‘You don’t need to do any more biopics. You don’t need to play any more real people.’ I don’t agree with that.”

94. “I don’t think it matters what I believe, only what I do.”

95. “I will not abandon someone to die when I have the means to save his life.”

96. “I don’t care if they like me. I didn’t come here to make friends. I don’t even care if they respect me. I know who I am. I’ve got enough respect for myself. I do not want them to beat me.”

97. “The Constitution was not written for us. We know that. But no matter what it takes, we’re going to make it work for us. From now on, we claim it as our own.”

98. “In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping-off point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into a green veld where you can run forever.”

99. “Today, we don’t fight for just one life. We fight for all of them.”


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