In this interview, all I could think about is the head this man has on his shoulders. When you talk about someone who is inspirational, real, funny and dedicated, you are speaking of Brian Jordan Jr. The breakthrough and hilarious star spoke about his journey from rural Louisiana to the TV screen with Tyler Perry. Jordan has plans to prosper and be a voice for the promising future and plans of slowing down is not in the view at all.
How has your role on the BET show Sistas shape your career and goals as an actor?
Being a part of Sistas has been a complete honor and pleasure. I remember when I first learned that Tyler Perry inked a deal with Viacom. I was so excited for him and all I could do was imagine how Black things would be when he put a show on BET (laughs). I didn’t imagine in a million years that I would be a star on this mutual conglomerate of blackness. There is something to be said about this show, this creator, and this network at this time in America, and I am glad to be a part of saying it.
While I grow each day as an actor and as an artist at large, I know that in my journey with playing Maurice, I’ve been afforded the pleasure of helping a very specific and important group of people feel seen on TV. It’s important to me, that when I create art, I can touch the hearts, the minds and souls of as many people as possible. Maurice represents so much of a forgotten demographic in America. He represents Gay, Black, Fullness, Laughter, and Love. The genetic make-up of Maurice Webb and I believe the challenges that come with creating such an important illustration will help me with any character I get the privilege of creating.
Describe working with Tyler Perry. Is it what you thought it would be? What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from him?
There are no words to describe working with Tyler Perry. But If I had to use an analogy, I’d say imagine working with a director, producer, writer, set decorator, actor, low-key singer, coach, MADEA (laughs), I could keep going all day. Tyler Perry’s name holds weight, and it’s because he holds all the weight on his shoulders. We work very hard at a very fast pace and with a lot of moving parts. It is totally something I could’ve never even imagined because prior to this I wouldn’t believe that the amount of work we do is possible. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from Mr. P is something that he never even had to say. I believe in example, and I’ve watched him successfully do every single thing he wanted to do. It gives me hope and it is glaringly inspirational to be around. I know that If he can do all of the things he does, I can at least try to do half; and that is a hell of a lot.
Looking back over your younger years, what inspired you to take the path you’ve chosen in life?
As a kid, I was reared in a low socio-economic, rural Louisiana town. I was raised by a single mother who for most of my life had 3 and 4 jobs to take care of her 4 kids. I’ve always been a natural leader and high-performer for that matter. I strived to be the best as an athlete, a student, and an artist. As far as I can remember competition was a very important aspect of what drove me to be better. I remember a time at a young age when I finally realized what my true competition was. I was nearly 20 years old when I realized that I was to be an artist, and at age 8 I knew that I wouldn’t allow my mother to work all those jobs when I could help it. I knew that I had an important assignment of the universe to make things better for my family, for myself and for my community. Trust me, I wrestled with several different ways of doing it, but eventually, I was blessed to understand when the assignment aligned with my passion and here I am today. This is only just beginning the assignment; there is so much more to do.
What excites you the most about being a writer? What challenges do you face, if any?
With being a writer (I like to call myself a scribe) I am most excited about the freedom of sharing stories of my life, my beautiful and elaborate Black and creole culture and my hilarious and layered family. I believe that there is such wealth in good storytelling. I’m excited that I have been blessed with a hunger for history and imagination for the future. I am particularly in the business of inspiring many others that look like me to do the same. I am currently working on creating TV, film, and theatre that will speak to every person who can consume.
What more can we expect from Brian Jordan Jr.? Anything in the works we should know about?
There is so much more to expect from Brian Jordan, Jr. A few things that I don’t yet have a license to speak about, but I’m sure you can imagine. However, there is one I can speak about. This summer I will be producing an original musical that I’ve written based in New Orleans, Louisiana, RILEY. The musical tells the story of an HBCU through musical genres of New Orleans bounce, classical, spirituals, trap, and R&B. I’m so excited to share it with the world and begin its journey to Broadway!!! Look out for the announcement very soon!
Sistas airs on BET Wednesday at 9 PM. Make sure to follow Brian on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Donte Maurice