It’s hard not to be captivated by an actress like Tessa Thompson. The Los Angeles native is diverse enough to play an aspiring musician and boxer’s girlfriend in Creed, a civil rights activist in Selma and a complicated college activist/radio host in Dear White People. The Panamanian, Mexican, Caucasian and African American thespian has proven she can sink her teeth into just about any role that crosses her path. Although Thompsons’ success may seem “immediate” she’s actually been grinding for about a decade on TV shows like Veronica Mars, Cold Case and Grey’s Anatomy. She’s also spent time writing and singing her own music. It’s her voice you hear in Creed and her songs that appear on the Dear White People soundtrack. More importantly she’s not afraid to take hard or complex roles that tell layered stories like Sam, a biracial social justice warrior struggling with race or a hearing impaired singer. This also extends to her everyday life. She along with Selma cast mates, supported the Black Lives Matter movement when they wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to the film’s premiere. The woman is on a mission for art and activism.