"I like shaking things up..."
You’ve seen him around. He may look familiar to you, but you can’t place it. There’s that welcoming smile, mixed with an air of confidence that seems to suggest you are in the right place. A few minutes more and you realize you’ve got it- it’s that guy from all of the AMTC posters! His name is Jordan Black- but he’s more than just a friendly face. Jordan is the perfect example of someone who has taken his platform as a model and entertainer very seriously. His passion transcends the spotlight, and moves into a place that cries out for social justice. As an anti-sex trafficking advocate, youth leader and frequent volunteer at the Dream Center, an organization that seeks to meet the needs of the public in areas of poverty, addiction and homelessness in Los Angeles, California, Jordan hopes to be the salt and light in a sea of change sweeping through streets of Hollywood and beyond.
A lot of people recognize you as the face of AMTC, but you also have an amazing voice. How long have you been singing?
Oh, wow… I am on the spot (laughs). My Mom and Dad both sang for a mega church in New York City, and I would watch them. I remember them leaving me with someone they trusted in one of the church seats, and they would go up and do their thing. I was very mesmerized by what they did. In terms of me singing, it’s something that I am growing in confidence with. I’m a friend with a really big songwriter, and she’s done incredible things in the industry. The fact that she asked me to sing with her recently was a huge deal because it just showed her belief in me. But it’s still something that I’m growing to be more confident with (laughs).
You are a model. You have done many ads including a Coca-Cola mother’s day campaign. Do you have a favorite shoot that you have done and why?
I’ve worked with Coca-Cola a few times actually; they’ve been really great to me. One of my favorite things was another campaign for Coca-Cola. It was a lot of fun because it involved other people my age; we were just able to have some type of camaraderie, and it felt like a family when we were shooting. And that was after the Mother’s Day shoot. I think that was one of my favorites.
How did you become (essentially) the poster child/mascot for AMTC?
(Laughs) I don’t really know! I spent time traveling with Carey Lewis, looking for talent, and really just wanting to be an example for acting and modeling hopefuls. So I think what happened with that is, as I was on the road with Carey and Adam and Lexy She… they really saw that I had a heart for people, and I had a heart for the company, and that it wasn’t this thing of, I want to be seen and I want to be heard, but it was more, I really care about what this company does, and what it represents. So I think that there was an authenticity there that they wanted; someone to represent the company who actually had a true love and understanding for what the company is and stands for.
What do you enjoy most about modeling?
This is going to sound interesting, but what I enjoy the most about modeling is not taking it as seriously as others do, and let me explain. I feel that beauty is fleeting, and that character is forever. So when I come in with that opposite spirit, and I’m on a set, it really takes people by surprise, but I think they’re pleasantly surprised. Because the industry is blessed, but the other side of the coin is that there’s a lot of vanity, self-promotion, and using people as a stepping ladder to go to the next place. There’s a lot of bad stuff too, so when you go to a set and you don’t have that ulterior motive, it really makes people look at you crazy like, “what’s going on?” And I like that. I like shaking things up in that way.
You are heavily involved as a motivational speaker and anti-sex trafficking advocate. What inspired you to take this platform, and in what areas of social justice do you find yourself the most passionate?
Well, in terms of what I want for my career, it all builds up to social justice, having more of a platform, and more authority and influence to really make a change. I remember going to a fancy benefit dinner for sex-trafficking once. I was in my suit and tie and it was a really expensive dinner, like $10,000 just to be at the table. I was there with some of my friends and I thought to myself, “While I’m at this table, there are children being trafficked. At this very moment, while I’m comfortable and eating filet mignon, this is their reality.” And I thought, “I can’t have this stance… I have to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Because we forget that justice is actually central to the gospel. It’s not just some new trend that the popular people do. The Hebrew word for justice is “mischpat”, and “mischpat” is mentioned four hundred twenty times in the Bible. Obviously God cares about it, and it’s not something that we can just ignore if we are going to profess Christ. So what I care about is definitely the welfare of women, children, and just how they’re seen. I grew up in a single parent home with my mom, and her struggle to take care of my sister and me. So I have this protectiveness and awareness of the importance of really honoring women. When I heard these horror stories of things that are happening to women and children every day in this multi-billion dollar industry, I really thought, “This is my mom. And this is my sister, and I’m not as far removed as I think.” So I knew I had to carry that torch of justice, and really do something instead of just passively praying. Prayer is very important, but there’s more that we can do than just pray. We can really be the answer. It’s about showing up; I think that’s what makes all the difference. Throwing money around is important, but it’s not the most important thing. Showing up really sends a stronger message.
When did you accept Christ, and how has your relationship with Him shaped your career?
I accepted Jesus as a really young kid, but it was something that I took ownership of when I was about fifteen at a church that I was going to in Miami, Florida. I think that’s when it became solidified. And in terms of my career my relationship with Jesus has caused me to never judge what I don’t understand, and to be able to differentiate judging what people do, and judging them. Many different superstars out there are under the scrutiny of so much judgment, and a lot of it does come from the so-called Christian community. I think my relationship with Jesus has given me this compassion for them, and to speak life. The industry is not just bright lights and nice smiles. It’s a dark industry, and I’ve experienced some really dark things being in the industry. But I’ve been able to keep my love on, and to stay away from judgment, and just come to this place of trying to understand who people are, instead of diagnosing them. I want to love people into wholeness.
What’s the best thing about AMTC in a nutshell?
The best thing about AMTC is that you feel covered. You feel like you’re under this umbrella, and that you aren’t subject to experience some of the bad things that the industry offers. You feel protected, and practically speaking, I love that AMTC brings the world to one place. Because I’ve been there- I’ve lived in most of the major cities and would submit for auditions by myself, but it was just never enough. I think AMTC brings the world to you… they are able to bring management, agents and casting directors to you, instead of you driving yourself crazy to find all of these people. *You can’t put a dollar amount on relationships, because when a relationship is established, you can walk into doors, and you can’t get that anywhere else.
What advice would you give to performers who want to shine their light and share Christ in the industry?
My advice is again to not judge who you see in the industry. I feel that we cannot influence those we don’t love first. So if love isn’t established, you won’t have that doorway into people’s hearts. Remember that you are the light. You hold the lantern in a very dark place. My next word of advice is to find out who you are outside this industry. Do not let this industry define who you are. What you do and who you are are two separate things. I am a son of God first and foremost. Everyone that I meet, I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Jordan. I’m an actor, model, singer, songwriter.” I say, “No, I’m Jordan, and this is what I love. This is who I am.” In the biblical days, you were known by who your father was. That was the introduction. “Hi, I’m Jesus, the Son of God.” And that was the identification, verses, “Here’s my card, and here’s my composite card, and my head shot.” So figure out who you are outside of this industry. Because again, connecting to these causes, connecting to things that really make me feel alive outside of the industry really gives me somewhat of a balance, instead of just being so driven by ambition. And last but not least, put your stake in the ground, and make a decision today that you believe that God is good. Even in the midst of disappointment, in the midst of everything happening in the world, even with this issue of trafficking. It’s a really horrific thing. But put your stake in the ground that God is good no matter what. And I think that that will have an impact on the glasses that you wear; the lens that you see life through. That’s really going to be the deciding factor of which way you’re going to look at life through.