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Ashton Sanders is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars

It’s safe to say that Ashton Sanders is Hollywood’s next biggest star.

Last Wednesday it was reported that the Inglewood, California native is in talks to join Warner Bros anticipated Black Panther’s pic Jesus Was My Homeboy, starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta).

The Ryan Coogler produced project is about the assassination of Black Panther activist Fred Hampton. If all goes through, Sanders will play Black Panther Party member Larry Roberson.


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The nod is yet another look for the 23-year old up and coming actor who turned heads in Moonlight, challenged viewers in Native Son and is currently playing RZA in Hulu’s new the series, Wu-Tang: An American Saga

Born in Inglewood, California, it’s not every day you see actors start their careers off with the strength Sanders has shown. Beyond his clear acting ability, he also has a knack for landing roles that are the center of conversations and pushing culture and society forward.

So how did Sanders, in such a short time, manage to position himself in line to be Hollywood’s next biggest star? The answer is to that two-folded: support and because he believed he could.


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A significant reason Ashton, as a young, Black man from Inglewood was able to successfully pursue a career in acting was because of the support he received from his immediate family.

While most kids his age and that looked like him were probably playing basketball, around the age of 13 Ashton was placed in the Amazing Grace Conservatory in Central Los Angeles where he learned acting, singing and dance. Ashton penned in a personal expose for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Another Man:

“My father was very supportive of whatever I wanted to do creatively though. He was a fashion designer, he would go around sketching all the time, he was definitely an artist, full circle. That support was a big force getting me to where I’m at right now.”

He would later go on and finished the theatre program at DePaul University in Chicago. That training prepared Sanders to be ready when opportunities arose, which is exactly why he was so successful with Moonlight.


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The other part of how Sanders has, in such a short career, has been able to get the roles he has is because he only does what he loves.

“I’ll never sign on to anything I don’t feel is right. Each choice I make has something to say, that’s what I’m trying to build. It’s not just artistic fulfillment, but doing something right socially, and politically, through my work.”

It’s the reason his roles resonate, why he builds the relationship he does and he gets roles others wishes. Even in the Hule series, he didn’t even have to audition for the role. Sanders told Essence earlier this month:

“There was no audition at all… RZA and [co-creator] Alex Tse already had their mind made up that they wanted me to portray him. At first it was kind of overwhelming but, obviously, it’s an honor.”

When you think of the gravity of the story, the people tapped to play the roles and the eye behind the camera, Jesus Was My Homeboy already has the feeling of one of those films that will make a generational impact. Which is precisely on-brand for Ashton Sanders.