All Articles Tagged "michael b jordan"
Last September, Michael B. Jordan found himself in the hot seat with many of his fans (read: Black women) following some questionable comments he made during a recent GQ interview. You can read all about them here, but to sum things up, he singled out Black fans over the backlash he received when people believed that he was dating Kendell Jenner. Fans were also pretty upset over his misuse of the term “female.” Thursday, the Creed actor stopped by Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club to clear the air and set the record straight. Peep some highlights from his interview below.
On Kendall Jenner dating rumors:
“I got caught in the frame of the same picture. It’s so weird when you’re walking out of the club or walking somewhere, and you get caught in a picture, and then all of a sudden, y’all dating. Why is that? I didn’t even know who she was that night.”
On Black women:
“I love my sisters out there. Let’s not get it confused.”
On rumors that he’s not here for Black women:
“Isn’t that crazy? That’s ridiculous, I got a strong Black woman: my mother, my sister. I’m emerged in my community. I love my people. It’s unreal how quick people can try to flip on you and try to strip you down and make you into something that you’re not based off of a misquote or somebody’s words—or somebody else’s tweet.”
On making mistakes:
“A lot is happening so fast, and there’s no blueprint for it, so I’m going to make some mistakes. I’m going to say some things that I probably shouldn’t have said—or some things that I say may be taken out of context. I’m just asking everybody to grow with me like they have been growing with me for the past twelve years. Keep it up.”
On misusing the term “female” and his open letter:
“Obviously, there were some people out there who were definitely offended. I had to address a lot of different things because that [GQ] article caused a lot of drama, so I just wanted to set the record straight on everything, and that’s something I definitely wanted to address. But personally, I found it confusing.”
Watch Michael’s full interview on the next page.
Being a celebrity in 2015 is a lot different than it was 20 years ago. Heck, even 10 years ago. Today, the Internet and social media play a significant role in growing, maintaining or burning to the ground a public figure’s fanbase. With so much personal information accessible and often provided to the public, a celebrity has to be careful with their words. Even when they mean no harm, they can inadvertently share an opinion that might be unpopular or even downright ugly.
In the last few years, we’ve all become familiar with the cycle. In an interview/tweet/rant, a notable figure either talks out of turn, shares an unpopular opinion, or speaks before thinking. Hours later, an apology will be issued on their behalf after being side-eyed at best, or dragged at the worst, by the public. This often happens, leaving people shocked, appalled and unforgiving when someone on TV, radio, or film puts their foot in their mouths. At this point, it’s assumed that these filthy rich folks know better, so they should do better.
Recently, we’ve seen the public turn on Matt Damon, who has enraged fans twice in the last month. First, when he tried to explain diversity to Effie Brown, a successful Black producer, and just last week when he suggested that gay actors would have more success if they stayed in the closet. People were pissed. After the diversity comments, Damon issued this apology:
“I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching ‘Project Greenlight’ to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too.
My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of ‘Project Greenlight’ which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood. That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having.”
After his apology, people continued to rage because he apologized for offending “some,” rather than for what he said. Would those same individuals have been pleased if he had issued this apology?
“I’m so sorry for the comments I have made. I believe in diversity and am committed to hiring diverse people in casting as well as on the crew.”
Nope. He would have been accused of just saying any ol’ thing to get us off his back and into the theater to see The Martian. He spoke what he felt to be the truth. And while he was hoping that people would respect the fact that he actually stood by his comments instead of running away from them as many do, Damon was further reprimanded.
I’m not sure there’s a way to please everyone once your words have sparked outrage. At this point, is there anything someone in the limelight can say to make amends to the public after they’ve said something regrettable? Is there a way to get that bad taste out of your mouth?
It doesn’t seem like it. Just ask Michael B. Jordan, who people laid into after comments he made in a recent interview with GQ.
“I told my team after I finished ‘Chronicle’ that I only want to go out for roles that were written for White characters. Me playing the role will make it what it is.”
In essence, the actor, who became widely known for portraying Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, is not trying to play Black characters. This resonated poorly with the public, who took it as Jordan turning his back on his community.
He then went on to comment on his Black fans and their anger with him over unfounded rumors that he was dating Kendall Jenner.
“They see White and Black. I don’t. Kendall’s a friend of mine, you know. I don’t know her, like, that well, but I know her enough. People’s perspective on that is what it is. I don’t f**king know. I don’t live my life to make other people happy. It’s so weird, though, right? A lot of Black fans were feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, he should have been with a Black woman’ and that whole thing. I get it, but on the other hand it’s, like, relax. You know—it’s 2015. It’s okay! People can like one another, not necessarily from the same history or culture or whatever the f**k it is. It’s just the new world, you know what I mean?”
Claiming color blindness is never going to sit well with people.
Later in the interview, Jordan went on to dig a bigger hole for himself, referring to women as “females” whom he has been emotionally unavailable for. Needless to say, when this trinity of questionable statements hit the web, Black Twitter joined together to rip him a new one. In no time flat, Jordan issued the most eloquent apology he could.
When it reached the masses, many rejected it, stating that it was written by his PR team and was simply damage control in preparation for the press run for his new movie, Creed. Jordan hasn’t said anything about the matter since, and that’s probably because he knows there’s no point. Especially when responses to his apology drew comments like “He’s full of sh*t. He threw black woman under the bus,” and “The damage is done. Once you reveal yourself to be “lost” you’re thrown in the bushes by black women (and rightly so).” People have made up their minds. They’re upset with him, and there’s nothing he can do about it at this point.
People say stupid things, articles get edited for shock value, words get taken out of context–these things happen. We are in an outrage culture, and some of the outrage is justified. But at times, I think we take glee in dragging people for their opinions, and we put them on public trial for their word crimes. Jordan offered a gracious and seemingly genuine apology. He acknowledged the vitriol behind his statements, apologized to his fanbase, and stated his intentions to do better because he understands that words have power.
To me, his apology was top notch and it allows me to move on from putting him in the box of celebs who I don’t see it for anymore. For now, it’s water under the bridge. And while I didn’t agree with Damon’s comments either, his apology was enough for me to lower my raised eyebrow. To be rid of rage.
They’re both human.
Despite the criticism we throw their way, celebrities are complex people too. They say regrettable things at times. They may even say vicious things that they truly believe in. Just like the rest of us. We will always be let down when we put them on a pedestal and expect flawlessness that they can never deliver. So while their honesty can be jarring at times, it’s something I would prefer.
This has been a pretty rough week for the #MCM of many a.k.a. talented and equally handsome thespian, Michael B. Jordan.
What was supposed to be a great reveal of his GQ cover story Tuesday (Sept. 22), as he opened up about growing up on the east coast, Kendall Jenner dating rumors, and being Black in Hollywood, had many giving the 28-year-old side eyes. And when an alleged Snapchat sent by Jordan with an “All Lives Matter” message began to gain traction with numerous reports, things went complete left.
Yesterday (Sept. 25) night, Jordan penned an open letter given exclusively to ESSENCE, in which he clarifies the statements from his controversial cover story. In the letter, he begins by assuring readers that he’s in full support of the #BlackLivesMatter and has always been.”It is frustrating to see a false claim stirred up on social media which has caused my supporters to question where I stand on this crucial issue. But I am confident that my history and continued engagement with my community will speak louder than unfounded rumors,” he wrote.
Jordan also goes on to address to female fans, as well as race in Hollywood.
Read his full letter below:
I have been a professional actor for most of my life, but being regarded as a leading man is new to me and has taken some getting used to. Recently I had the opportunity to be featured on the cover of one of my favorite magazines. In the interview, several points that I shared were communicated in ways that do not reflect my true feelings and opinions. In addition, there were reports written about me elsewhere that simply aren’t true. I’d like to set the record straight.
First and foremost, I believe that Black Lives Matter – unequivocally and without exception. I have never said, written, snapchatted, tweeted, Instagrammed or implied anything to the contrary. Any report that states otherwise is a complete fabrication. I portrayed Oscar Grant in my first leading role in a feature film, Fruitvale Station. I am a founding member of the Blackout for Human Rights Network. I gave a speech just a few months ago on the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement at the BET Awards. It is frustrating to see a false claim stirred up on social media which has caused my supporters to question where I stand on this crucial issue. But I am confident that my history and continued engagement with my community will speak louder than unfounded rumors.
Secondly, it is challenging to have a nuanced conversation about race and Hollywood period. This sensitive subject becomes even more complicated when you’re dealing with soundbites and articles. A simple idea or opinion can be abbreviated and distorted as it is communicated to readers out of context. Allow me to be clear about my ideas on roles traditionally reserved for White actors. My goal is for my choices and opportunities, as well as those of my fellow actors and actresses of color, to be predicated on our talent, ability and passion and not on false notions of what color an artist must be to play certain roles. I’ve had the honor to portray Black characters written and directed by Black filmmakers—a privilege that too few actors of color enjoy because of the challenges of Black artistry and access behind the camera. But in addition to those wonderful roles, I also want to have the option to play all kinds of parts with no door closed to actors and actresses like myself.
Lastly, my fans who are women mean the world to me. This is especially true of Black women, who as a group have supported my work long before the industry knew my name. I deeply regret and am ashamed that I said anything to disappoint or disparage them. I apologize with my whole heart for referring to women in the way that I did. The word ‘female’ used in the manner that I did is dismissive and strips women of their humanity. It is a slang term that guys sometimes use to sound slick and cool coming up. But words have power and I realize now more than ever that this careless language is dehumanizing, inappropriate, and immature. I’m a better man than that. This reference to women will not come out of my mouth publicly or in private again.
In all, although some of what I said was taken out of context, I take full responsibility for the interview and I apologize for the hurt and confusion it has caused. This has been an important lesson for me. I humbly ask my fans to grow with me, as I learn more about myself and this industry.
Bae is trending on Twitter right now, but it’s likely not because of how fine he looks on the cover of GQ. People (read: Black folks) are feeling a way about some of the interesting comments the Creed actor made in lengthy feature. Some of his more interesting moments from the interview include the revelation that he only goes after roles written for White characters, his excessive use of the word “females” and discussion of how Black women reacted to Kendall Jenner dating rumors.
According to Jordan, after the success of sci-fi thriller, Chronicle, he informed his talent agency that he’s not interested in going after roles written specifically for Black actors.
“I told my team after I finished ‘Chronicle’ that I only want to go out for roles that were written for White characters. Me playing the role will make it what it is.”
Apparently, this strategy is how the actor intends to avoid being pigeonholed by stereotypical roles.
“I want to be part of that movement that blurs the line between white and black,” he said. “The first time I sat down with multiple agents at the agency I told them, ‘Don’t treat me like another actor that’s coming through here just wanting to be famous. Understand the situation that I’m in and the opportunities that are presented in front of me and the expectations that come with doing a film like ‘Fruitvale Station’ moving forward.’ You know, for my community, the African-American community, there was a certain expectation. You do a role that represents African-Americans, of Oscar Grant being wrongfully accused, wrongfully killed by the police, it’s a certain expectation comes with it to be the one to speak out.”
For clarity, Jordan referenced the career models of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling.
“They made smart choices,” he says. “They played people, not being ‘a white actor playing a person,’ them playing a person. When I play a person or profession, it’s black this, black that. It’s obvious that I’m black, but why do I have to be labeled as that?”
“Instead of taking something conceptually written for a Black guy, I want the stuff that was written for a guy.”
And then, there was the Kendall Jenner thing—a rumor that left a sour taste in the mouths of many of Jordan’s fans. As it turns out, the two were just leaving the same party at the same time; however, he specifically singled out Black fans over the controversy.
“It’s the world we live in,” he said. “They see White and Black. I don’t. Kendall’s a friend of mine, you know. I don’t know her, like, that well, but I know her enough. People’s perspective on that is what it is. I don’t f*ck*ng know. I don’t live my life to make other people happy. It’s so weird, though, right? A lot of Black fans were feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, he should have been with a Black woman’ and that whole thing. I get it, but on the other hand it’s, like, relax. You know—it’s 2015. It’s okay! People can like one another, not necessarily from the same history or culture or whatever the f*ck it is. It’s just the new world, you know what I mean?”
Jordan later revisited discussions about his love life, which according to him, won’t produce anything lasting at this point because he refuses to become sidetracked by “females.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong having tunnel vision and knowing what you want, but Jordan’s constant use of the derogatory term led to the beloved actor being dragged on Twitter.
“I’m a quiet guy. I’m very to myself. Don’t like attention. I’m getting a lot more now. I’m extremely quiet, bro,” he explained. “All the extra sh*t is extra sh*t, you know.”
“The females,” he continued, “they’ll always be there. Like, honestly, bro. Oh, my God. Female-wise from now? I ain’t got to do too much work. And it’s weird, because I’m the same guy. I haven’t f*ck*ng changed, right? I don’t look any different. I haven’t done anything different. Okay, maybe a blockbuster film.”
While he admits that many of the women he encounters are opposed to his agenda, his extensive knowledge of what “females” want and need keeps him from being lonely for too long.
“I’m not [lonely]. I understand what females want and need, you know. I’m good at that. I don’t know if I’m the guy to give it to them right now. I’m emotionally unavailable. Until I find something that’s so undeniable that I can’t help myself. Other than that, I need to work on making sure my mom is okay. That’s all I care about, honestly. Females, they come and go.”
While he’s looking scrumptious in the GQ spread, his loose lips may result in a sharp decline in his Man Crush Money numbers, as the Twitter slander against Jordan has been going on for hours and will likely carry on into the night.
For decades, Whites actors and actresses have been cast to play people of color in Hollywood, making whitewashing a very nasty habit in Tinsel Town. But these Black actors managed to turned the table and were selected to star in traditionally White roles.
Michael B. Jordan
Comic book fans everywhere were in an uproar when Michael B. Jordan was selected to play Johnny Storm in the reboot of The Fantastic Four. But Chris Evans, who first played the role a decade earlier, gave Jordan his stamp of approval in hopes to appease loyal fans. The film tanked anyway at the box office and studio executives hope the sequel, which had already been announced, can salvage the franchise.
The Rocky movie franchise has captivated audiences across the globe for more than three decades and now the series is looking to capture another generation with the spin-off film Creed debuting this fall.
Based on the beloved Rocky character Apollo Creed’s son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the film develops as the millennial tries to survive living off the streets. After several run-ins with the law, Adonis searches for Rocky to train him in boxing. Although he tries to turn his life around, Adonis is discouraged by his mother (Phylicia Rashad) and other boxers to enter the boxing industry because his father died in the ring.
However with Rocky’s mentorship, Adonis pushes himself to follow in his father’s footsteps. While they train for Adonis to win the title championship, odds are pitted against them. To overcome and achieve their personal victories, both men will have to fight against their cynics to reveal they are natural-born winners.
To get inspired and your adrenaline pumping, press play on the Creed trailer below. What do you think?
‘Tis the season for hookups and love. That’s right, as the weather changes, that means cuffing season is drawing near. With so many baes to choose from, why not shoot your shot in the direction of some of Black Hollywood’s most elite single men? Prepare to hop on the ‘gram and slide into those DMs as we look at famous fellas who are on the market.
Diversifying entertainment has proven to be a long, arduous and controversial process. In the last few years, a handful of traditionally White roles in movies, comic books, and television series have been filled by Black actors. This transition and decision to appropriately represent the many faces of the world we live in has proven difficult for the actors who have excitedly signed on to take on these blockbuster roles.
From Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton, to Idris Elba’s turn as Heimdall in the Thor movies, and Amandla Stenberg’s work as Rue in The Hunger Games, the casting backlash has been continuously loud and ignorant. With White people slowly receding into minority status in this country, it’s only right to be open-minded about representing the varied hues of people who enjoy and support these kinds of projects. But some people are going to fight diversification in entertainment until their last breath–or at least make a spectacle out of it.
For instance, an interview featuring Michael B. Jordan plays Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot that comes out today. A recent interview with Jordan and his co-stars Kate Mara and Jamie Bell went viral for all the wrong reasons:
Last Thursday, two Atlanta radio personalities held a brief interview with the cast, during which, the men proceeded to showcase themselves as ignorant and sexist. At the top of the interview, they wasted no time getting to the race question. They tried a long-winded attempt at trying to ask how Mara and Jordan’s characters, who portray brother and sister in the movie, could be related when they’re of two different races. Mara, who no doubt has fielded this same question no less than a million times during the international press junket, answered the question immediately: “Sue Storm was adopted. Is that the question?”
The other interviewer jumps in for further interrogation. “The obvious question is…you’re White, you’re Black. How does that happen? Because in the other one, they’re just brother and sister…”
In my heart of hearts, I want to believe that these two radio personalities decided to do this for publicity. Because there’s no way that two 40-something men really cannot wrap their heads around how two people who don’t share a genetic makeup or skin color could possibly be related–especially for a fictional story. Thankfully, Jordan had a good retort to this foolishness because things could have definitely gotten messy.
“They could be raised as brother and sister,” Jordan explained. “There’s a whole bunch of family dynamics that could be without the obvious adoption.”
His response forced one of the interviewers to change topics. The man decided to ask Mara why she cut her hair so short because her long hair was “excellent.” Thankfully, a publicist cut the interview off soon after.
Awkward, baiting, and troublesome.
When the video went viral, comment sections around the Internet exploded with people defending the radio personalities for asking what, to them, was a sound and necessary question. These observations led to more mudslinging about Jordan being cast in the traditionally White role, and in no time flat, I was through. Too through.
How on earth can you fix your mouth to ask what sense it makes for White and Black characters to play sister and brother in a movie that centers around a man turning himself into a rock behemoth? A movie where another man can make himself stretch in any direction? A movie where a woman who can make herself and objects around her invisible has a brother who can burst into flames. Really? Are you serious? You can suspend belief for all that, but you find it nearly impossible to wrap your head around Jordan and Mara’s characters possibly coming up in the same family?
This argument is nothing new. There are literally people who would lose their minds if Idris Elba were to be cast as the near-immortal, superhuman James Bond. And just like the commenters defending the radio personalities, those people are shortsighted and trifling. Yes, we can save the world too.
Diversity in casting is necessary. People of color have long been assigned the roles of the help, the gangsters, the sassy best friend, the baby mama, the drug addict, and the thief. We are so much more than that, and you will know it and see it. No amount of pushback is going to stop the diversity train from rolling through and arriving at its destination. So choo-choo to you, the detractors, and all of your ignorance.
Jazmin Truesdale is doing to the comic book industry what Shonda Rhimes did to primetime television with Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder – adding a splash of color and diversifying it. With a bad a** league of multicultural female superheroes, Truesdale hopes to prove to DC and Marvel — the comic book bigwigs — that Black and female superheroes are in.
*Cue the dramatic superhero soundtrack* There’s Adana, Fenna, Ixcel, Kala, and Amaya — hailing from Mumbai to Bogota — coming together to kick some evil villain butt. These five women, chosen to “save the universe from plunging into darkness,” are a part of Truesdale’s Aza Superheroes.
“I feel like every woman would be able to look at one of the girls and find herself in one of them,” Truesdale told MadameNoire Business.
The Keepers: Origins, a digital book that reveals the Aza superhero mythology, will hit the Kindle and iBook Market on June 24th. This league of multicultural superwomen will come to life in the form of mobile app games, comic books, and even a video game by 2016.
Truesdale spoke with us about what propelled her to create Aza Comics, which launched in January 2015, and how she hopes that Adanna, Fenna, Ixcel, Kala, and Amaya can not only save the world, but also galvanize a change in a predominately White male industry.
MadameNoire: What motivated you to start up a series of female superheroes?
Jazmin Truesdale: I grew up reading comics. I loved Wonder Woman; I’m like a super huge fan and I’ve always been. DC does have Black characters and they introduced some Hispanic ones, but they weren’t given the kind of attention that Wonder Woman was given. And even with Marvel, the most popular Black Superhero was Storm. She isn’t given that much attention either.
I was like, “Well, these companies were started like 60 years ago, which probably has a lot to do with it so why not, instead of waiting for men to do it, why not just do it myself?”
MN: What do you say to comic book writers that say there’s no point in creating Black or female superheroes because there’s no audience for it?
JT: With anything, the market is there. If you never try to market to them to begin with, then they’re not going to think this is a medium for them. So if you don’t have a Black superhero that’s able to stand on their own, put it out there, and market it, then you’re not going to bring in that female readership or Black readership that’s just sitting there waiting to be tapped into. Women are the most untapped resource in the world. There are plenty of women who would love to get into science fiction or whatever , but they don’t see themselves reflected in the industry so they don’t even think it’s something for them. Sometimes you don’t know that you like something until you see it looking back at you. Take CSI for example, so many women went into the forensics field [thanks to the show].
MN:Why do you think there is seemingly a lack of interest in female and Black superheroes?
JT: I think it’s more about the story and development. Hollywood has always struggled with the development of female characters. And then there’s that age-old theory of “ethnic things don’t sell.” But that’s only because when they’re created, they’re created based off of ethnic stereotypes and not actually off of reality. Shonda Rhimes, for example, created Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder – [these shows] have very well-crafted, fully-developed characters that really showcase people the [Black community] can identify with. A lot of the times with female characters, you have to ask yourself, “Who are these writers?” They are usually men who write based on female stereotypes.
MN: What do you think of female versions of male-established characters like She-Hulk and Supergirl?
JT: Women aren’t asking for these female versions of popular male characters, they’re looking for actual individual, standalone characters that have their own back stories. We’re not just extensions of the same old stories. That’s why with the [Aza Superheroes], I didn’t play them off of anything popular. I gave them their own characteristics and their own powers. There are so many different kinds of women out there. And I said “Well, I can create women from all over the world and I can give them personalities that pretty much every girl can find one they can identify with.” Ixchel, for example, is really shy. Kala is very much a leader. Adanna is very go-with-the-flow. Maya is super sarcastic and she’s crucified because of her background. I feel like every woman would be able to look at one of the girls and find herself in one of them.
MN: Tell us more about your digital books. [Three are in development — two adult versions due this June and October and one tween version in September.]
JT: I’ve decided to do a digital book first because I’m having to catch up with DC and Marvel who have been around for 75 years. It’s difficult to tell a full story in comic book format because you have to develop this super complicated plot with mere images. So I said, give people the foundation. Let’s also reach an audience who may not necessarily read comic books, but they read novels. I created a short novel that teenagers and older can read so that they can kind of jump into it and get a good sense of this universe I’m creating.
MN: How are the adult digital books different from the tween version?
JT: All the girls’ powers are based in science. So let’s take Kala for example. Her power is based off of energy and force. For anyone familiar with science and physics, her powers are pretty much based on that. Through these characters, I am able to teach children about different cultures, different languages, about science, about math, and reading as well. These books are created to inspire kids to get into STEM professions. So they get to learn about the characters and learn about something [worthwhile] at the same time. I know this will be something that parents will be comfortable with in terms of the kind of entertainment that their kids are getting.
MN: What do you think about the backlash Michael B. Jordan is receiving for his role in the Fantastic Four reboot?
JT: If you think about it, if they didn’t make him Black, where else would they be able to include people who aren’t White into this industry? But, at the same time, I understand where that’s coming from. You’re reading something , you’re invested in a comic book for years and you’re finally going to see it play out in live action, and they completely change the character and make it totally different from what you’re used to. Still, you have to do something or else you’re excluding a group of people who have been excluded since the inception of [comic book creation].
I understand both sides. As a lover of Wonder Woman, I’d be kind of upset If they made Wonder Woman Black. That’s not what I grew up reading. But, at the same time, instead of just being upset at the lack of Black characters, just create more Black characters. That way, you don’t have to make any changes.
MN: What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?
JT: Know your market. I’m a business person. I wouldn’t really consider myself an artistic type, but just being a consumer of this particular superhero industry, I understand what makes a quality comic book and I understand what the consumer wants to read.
For more information on Aza Comics, including release dates and trailers, click here.
I don’t have to tell y’all racism is real. And when it was announced that Michael B Jordan would be playing the role of Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four film, all hell broke loose on social media. When asked about it during interviews, Jordan would brush it off, giving a comment or two here and there. But today, Entertainment Weekly, published a full essay from the actor addressing not only the racists out there but the die-hard comic fans who only want to see that character portrayed a certain way.
See what he had to say below.
You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in “Fantastic Four”—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”
It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?
Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.
This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.
To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.