Justice Smith

Justice Smith is one of the millennial generation’s leading men in Hollywood. Within each role he’s played in, whether it’s the ambitious Zeke Figuero in Netflix’s The Get Down or the jaded Tim Goodman in Detective Pikachu, there’s always a sense of earnestness and charisma that he brings to the screen.

While he takes on different characters for a living, Smith ensures that he’s 100% himself, something many of his fans took to heart when he came out as queer in an Instagram post in 2020. Thankfully, authenticity in his life and career mean more to him, something he mentioned in an interview with Men’s Health.

“It took me 0.05 seconds before I did that to be like, ‘What if this affects my career?’ and just as quickly, I was like, ‘I wouldn’t want a career in which I couldn’t be myself,’” said Smith. “I would never accept a career in which they were like, ‘You can be an actor, but you can’t be Black.’ That would be fucking crazy to me. If this prevents me from getting opportunities then I never wanted those opportunities.”

With letting people into his world as a queer man, Smith doesn’t believe in “coming out”, he also took the time to advocate for Black LGBTQ+ voices. Smith used his platform to call for better inclusion of Black queer and trans voices within the Black Lives Matter Movement. Additionally, he partnered with G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society), a Black trans-led organization raising money for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.

While some may not have noticed Smith talking openly about his queerness then, his queerness is certainly front and center in his professional profile. Last spring, he and boyfriend, fellow actor Nic Ashe, were featured in Calvin Klein’s queer-centered “This Is Love” campaign. Besides being incredibly adorable and breaking the internet, the campaign shined a light on Black queer relationships.

Additionally, he was one of the stars of the 2022 interactive horror video game The Quarry. Following in the footsteps of actors like Elliot Page, Rami Malek, and Idris Elba, Smith took on the role of Ryan, one of seven camp counselors trying to survive a night in Hackett’s Quarry. In the game, you can also watch his queer relationship unfold with the character Dylan (Miles Robbins).

While these are amazing turns for him, what truly cemented his range on-screen was his portrayal of gay teenager Chester in the Gen Z coming-of-age series Generation.

Unapologetically queer and charming, Chester excels in athletics, academics, and is beloved by his school community. Not to mention, he looks fabulous. But behind his confident veneer is a young man seeking community and love. Smith expertly shows off all who Chester truly is, quickly making him the heart of the show and although the series was canceled too soon, Smith’s character left its mark on TV and on him.

For Men’s Health, he spoke about how playing Chester was not only kismet, but also how it showed off his range as an actor. 

“I was the perfect person to play him. It wasn’t until I actually started saying the words that I realized that this character lived somewhere within me. On paper, we had us both being Black and being queer in common,” said Smith. “Chester was the first character that wore his heart on his sleeve and was the first provocative, extroverted character that I played. I knew that I had all of those sides within me, and as an artist, this is the perfect chance to showcase that.”

As an artist, Smith continues to highlight his immense talent. From starring in Apple TV+’s Sharper opposite Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan to fighting mythical creatures with Chris Pine, Regé-Jean Page, and Michelle Rodriguez in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Smith continues to dazzle on-screen. And with each character he portrays, his authenticity always shines through.

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