The Equalizer 2 actor Ashton Sanders says that he channeled real people to bring his character, Miles Whitaker, to life and that Black people need to uplift one another.

“Miles definitely wasn’t unfamiliar to me. [He] is kind of like hope in the hood,” Sanders tells EBONY. “A lot of young Black men without father figures fall short to a certain kind of lifestyle. It wasn’t too difficult . . . I just wanted to stay as true to what I was representing in this film.”

Sanders adds that the Black community needs to look out for one another, especially when someone is going down the wrong path.

“I think if you see somebody in need of help, if you’re in that position to give them any type of push in the right direction, it’s us as humans to step outside of ourselves and lend a helping hand,” he says. “We bring each other down so much or see something that we know isn’t right, and we don’t say anything about it because it’s none of our business, but it is.”

The Equalizer 2 debuted as the No. 1 movie at the North American box office this past weekend.