To love Jason Mitchell is to see his incredible skills as an actor in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton where he embodied the role of Eazy-E, critically acclaimed dramas Detroit and Netflix’sMudbound starring opposite Mary J. Blige. His recent role in Showtime’s “The Chi” as Brandon Johnson, a working-class sous chef that’s faced with the challenges of losing his younger brother to violence on the streets of Chicago. The series created by Lena Waite and executive produced by fellow Chicago native, Common—brings Mitchell’s brilliance to small screens everywhere.

Embracing the tradition of the 89th annual Bud Billiken Parade & Festival, Mitchell will join a select handful of familiar faces as the parade’s Honorary Grand Marshal. Bronzeville Life had a chance to shoot some questions at the 31-year old on what motivates him.

Where did you grow up and who mentored you during your time in school?

I grew up in New Orleans. To be honest, unfortunately, I had to mentor myself.

When did you know you were good at your craft as an actor?

I was blown away after I saw the response to Straight Outta Compton and that helped convince me I was on the right track. But you always have to stay humble and keep working on your craft.

Who influenced you as an actor?

Actors who have had an influence on me range from Denzel to Vincent D’Onofrio, to Leonardo DiCaprio.

What are some of the challenges in maintaining your success in the business?

My primary challenge is not only to challenge myself but to stay hungry and stay focused.

As the largest and longest running African American parade in the country, what makes being this year’s Bud Billiken Honorary Grand Marshal special for you?

Growing up in New Orleans parades and Second lines are how we honor people. To be in the most prominent African American parade is equally the best honor you could ever get in my hometown.

Is it essential to utilize your platform to address issues such as social injustice, police misconduct, and criminal justice reform? Should other creatives in the business do the same and why?

Using your platform to influence others is a great responsibility, we also have a great responsibility that we hold to society being the people in the forefront. So, as a result, you could end up being a role model for part of the village that helps raise our children. I take that responsibility seriously.

What is the BEST and most HONEST advice you have for people coming up in the entertainment business?

The best advice I have for people coming up in the business is not always to take the information you’re given! I’ve gotten horrible advice from people all my career–especially at the beginning.

Since filming on location in Chicago, what are your favorite food spots?

I’m not gonna lie — I love local Chicago food, especially Portillo’s.

What can we expect to see from Season 2 of“The Chi”?

On Season 2 of “THE CHI”, you can expect more electricity and way more of the Southside.

Note: This article was originally published in the inaugural issue of Bronzeville Life Vol. 1  for August/September 2018.