New Faces NJ: Role Model


Model student: Filmmaker Jordan Coleman and interview subject Cory Booker.
Photo by Carey Moore

Jordan Coleman is a filmmaker, television actor, motivational speaker, and most important, a twelve-year-old honor student at Hackensack Middle School.

At age ten, Coleman beat out 50 other hopefuls to land his first television role as the voice of Tyrone the Moose on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. show, The Backyardigans. After he portrayed the laid-back, funny, dancing and singing character of Nick Jr.’s friendly moose for two years, Coleman’s parents challenged him to do something good with the money he had earned.

“I decided to make a film that encourages African-American boys like me to do well in school and study hard,” says Coleman. With the help of his mother, a New York Daily News reporter,  Coleman conducted on-camera interviews with role models such as Newark mayor Cory Booker, Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, then-Giant Michael Strahan, and Vince Carter of the Nets to create Say It Loud. “I saw my peers wanting to be the next big rap star or basketball player,” Coleman says, “but I wanted to show them how important it is to go to college and get an education.”

Coleman is now visiting schools around the country for screenings, and speaking to students as a peer who is still eager to learn. “I love sports, swimming, and video games,” Coleman says, “but I also love school and being able to learn with my friends.” The film has been widely screened, and will be shown at the third Teaneck International Film Fest in November ( Visit for more information.

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