Actor Aldis Hodge’s time is now.
After a breakout role in Straight Outta Compton, Hodge has starred in another big screen hit with Hidden Figures, which just won a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast and has grossed more than $100 million at the box office.
Hodge is now kicking off a second season of Underground, WGN’s hit series, which follows a group of rebel slaves who fight their way to freedom.
But even in the midst of his Hollywood rise, the 30-year-old North Carolina native took time out at the Sundance Film Festival to march for women’s rights with his Underground cast and extended family.
He posted a picture with a group of men, including John Legend, and Josiah Bell, husband of his Underground co-star Jurnee Smollett-Bell, with a sign that read, “This is what a feminist looks like.”
“I suppose I’d be considered a feminist,” Hodge told theGrio.com. “Look, I believe in the equality of women. I have a mom, I have a sister. My standard for the women in my life is like, ‘If no man can treat you better than I can treat you, they can’t come.’
You gotta step up to the plate. With respect, with acknowledgment, with support.”
Hodge’s mother served in the Marine Corps and raised him and his two siblings as a single mom. Hodge says his mother encouraged all of her kids to realize their biggest dreams, regardless of gender.
“My sister is raised to know her value,” Hodge said. “And to know that she stands behind no man. You know, when she gets a husband, you stand side-by-side, equal partnership. You stand behind no one. Cause you have to lift each other up […] We owe a lot when it comes to women in terms of innovation, in terms of education, in terms of progression in life.”
The nationwide Women’s March listed reproductive rights as a top priority for activists moving forward, promoting open access to birth control and legal abortion. Yet on his first day in office, President Donald Trump issued a ban on giving funding to international health organizations that provide abortions.
“This whole charge to take away women’s rights and Planned Parenthood makes no sense,” Hodge said. “And they lead on abortion? Abortion is less than 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
“I don’t even understand why it’s a question in this day and age. Why are we challenging that? It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand when women’s rights are challenged — because you’re talking about human rights.”
Watch Hodge passionately break down his stance on supporting women’s rights in the clip below.