Randall on This Is Us is many things: a brother, a husband, a businessman, and, perhaps most importantly, a dad. Season 2 of NBC's groundbreaking drama has seen Randall jump into fatherhood in a brand new way, following in his own father's footsteps by taking in a child that isn't biologically his. Needless to say, Randall's heartwarming dad moments make viewers at home swoon, so they'll be happy to know that Sterling K. Brown is actually like Randall IRL — in fact, he might even be better than his on-screen counterpart (being a real person definitely gives him an edge).
Just like Randall, Brown is committed to helping underprivileged kids have access to more resources. He's teamed up with Clorox for the company's "Clean is the beginning" campaign in an effort to get kids involved with their local communities, starting with the Thrive Collective in New York City, an organization that helps bring arts education to children and schools where arts funding has been cut. "I feel like in today's world, we can just be so focused on the self, it's nice to do something to give to your children to recognize that you are part of something bigger," he tells Bustle in late February, sitting in a room of the newly renovated Thrive Collective headquarters in Harlem.
Brown was driven to partner with Clorox as a father of two (again, not unlike his character Randall). "For me, as a dad and having two boys that I want to raise to be great human beings, I want them to be responsible, kind, resilient people," he says. Cleaning, it turns out, can help with that. According to a study, Clorox found that children who are involved in cleaning their own environments are more empathetic and more likely to be actively involved in their communities as adults. By teaching kids to clean, Brown says, "not only are you teaching kids the importance of taking care of themselves and the things that belong to them, but you're also encouraging them and enabling them to be more empathetic and connected people."
Along with encouraging children to be more empathetic, Brown hopes his work with Clorox and the Thrive Collective will help kids expand their imaginations and feel confident in expressing themselves. "Kids get a chance to explore their imagination through art and have their perspective of the world validated," he says. "When kids get the chance to be in the presence of art and get to create art for themselves, right, that's something that says that you matter. The way you see the world matters."
Brown knows a thing or two about the importance of seeing diverse world views reflected in art. The star recently made the jump from This Is Us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a small, but crucial role in Black Panther, a movie he knew would be important to kids frequently left out of Hollywood blockbusters.
"I get to take my kid to go see a black superhero movie and he gets to see himself as the man," Brown told People in a previous interview. In fact, Brown was so committed to helping bring Black Panther to life, he shot his first scene on the Atlanta set of Black Panther while also shooting the "Memphis" episode of This Is Us.
"This part was something that was a dream for me, and it almost didn't happen," he says, noting conflicting shooting schedules. Luckily, with some help from producers, Brown was able to complete his work on Season 1 of This Is Us and appear in Black Panther. "The fact that everything transpired in such a way that I got the chance to be a part of cinematic history — that's a divine hand that was in play to make sure that it all came to be," he says. Brown is probably not just saying that because the movie made him an unofficial Disney Prince — but it sure doesn't hurt, and that humble attitude just makes him as cool as his on-screen characters.