No, it’s not Miles Teller, Taron Egerton—which eerily sounds like a Game of Thrones character—or even Michael B. Jordan tv. All very accomplished young stars in Hollywood for sure, but they’re not next. Yes, yes, I know your beloved Michael B. Jordan wasn’t the runaway favorite. I respect him and we share a Jersey connection, but we’re thinking bigger and better.
The next up-and-coming great is, none other than 90’s baby, Lakeith Stanfield. Now in saying this, I am not attempting to appear controversial, whatsoever. I am simply here to enlighten you on a talent that, unfortunately, you may have overlooked. What Lakeith has managed to do in the last five years is nothing short of incredible and I would put his filmography from 2015 to present up against anyone. In each and every performance you are able to see what a true thespian is capable of.
Many think Michael B. Jordan has the “baton” from the OG Denzel Washington for ‘who is the next best black actor’ in La La Land. I’m here to tell you that is not the truth.
It’s a shame I have to compare, but in hip-hop, that’s what we do: compare EVERYTHING. And that’s the lens I see everything through as well. With all that out the way, ranging from his unforgettable moment turned meme in Get Out, to the out-of-this-world leading performance in the quirky, yet insightful Sorry to Bother You. I don’t think this is a hot take when I say that Lakeith Stanfield is not only the best young black actor in Hollywood, but the best young actor in Hollywood, period.
Fresh off dazzling performances playing the shady Demany in Uncut Gems (which I believe could be taken as a modern-day Ratso Rizzo of sorts) and the cunning, yet understanding detective in Knives Out; I had to take a step back to truly digest what this young man has been offering us over the course of the past few years. And how could I forget? I haven’t even mentioned the critically acclaimed FX comedy-drama series Atlanta; straight from the brain of another said genius and jack-of-all-trades, Donald Glover.
With us both being born Black in America in 1991, I can tell Lakeith was raised through the lens of hip-hop, as I was. This means something to me.
Being able to not only partake in the Black experiences of the ‘90s, and also the technology boom that us millennials faced has given Lakeith the tools to do the necessary research to not only become acquainted with the cinematic giants of the past and present, but also our Black icons that continued to shape American culture into what it is today.
In addition to me noticing Stanfield is better than his peers, a slight bias will begin to develop over time as you realize the man has shared the same familiarities as you. You can tell the young man is a true talent: creating his own entertaining comedy-laced skits on Instagram, being involved in a band called “The Moors” and creating hip-hop tracks–some dissing the provocative media personality Charlamagne tha God.
Let’s explore what truly makes Lakeith the best young actor in Hollywood. You won’t be digging for the reason why for long because what makes Mr. Stanfield so special is simple: his range.
Not many young actors have range and being a young Black actor at that, makes it more of an anomaly. Throughout history, and even today, they try to box us in. Yet at the spry age of 28, to have jumped from Dope, to Snowden, to doing voice work on BoJack Horseman; it’s hard to say that this man’s résumé isn’t one of the best, even if it’s over a short period of time.
What’s even more impressive is that I’m leaving out some of his best films. I’ll be sure to leave a list at the end of what you need to check out from Lakeith.
Lastly, I want to get to his next film set to release on this Valentine’s Day called The Photograph which has Stanfield teaming up with the immensely talented Issa Rae. When I first mentioned to some of my people that I’d be doing a short piece on Lakeith, the first thing my female friends got excited about was the upcoming movie. I’ll admit that I’m not the demographic for this particular joint, but it has all the ingredients for something special within the culture.
The fans are already acquainted with Lakeith’s noteworthy performances and Issa Rae’s background on writing and starring in captivating relationship-based works should make for a great collaboration between the two on the capitalistic lover’s special day—V Day.
The film follows Mae (Rae), the estranged daughter of a famous photographer who falls in love with the journalist Michael Block (Stanfield) assigned to cover her late mother.
With the many hats Lakeith wears and the many dazzling performances, this may be his chance to enter the sex symbol conversation with all the romance that is attached to this release. It seems like yet another notch in the belt for an already, steadily growing career.
Check out these pieces from the good brother, Lakeith Stanfield.
– Miles Ahead (not many scenes, but BIG recommendation)
– Crown Heights (BIG recommendation)