All Articles Tagged "michael b jordan"
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.
Sometimes I look at pictures of child stars I remember from the days when they were little kids and I think–damn! He’s not so little anymore…
I used to feel a little weird about it, but once I check the Wikipedia pages of these individuals and realize that they’re over 18, all feelings and rules go out the window. And I know it’s the same for you, because I’ve often heard you all swoon about the following young men, who have grown up to be quite good looking over the years. These are some of the child stars who grew up to be hot.
When we were first introduced to Daniel Dwayne Simmons III on the MTV reality show “Run’s House,” he was just a little boy with braces who could dance and rap, but did it for fun. Now 19, He has put out an album and three mixtapes, toured with Mindless Behavior, had a random beef with J. Cole, and worked hard to get a killer set of abs. This one has grown up quite nicely…
Now I think I understand why they call him Michael “Bae” Jordan. The actor, who has been on television since he was 12, really had everyone talking when he played Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, and he had all the ladies thinking, ‘MY, how you’ve grown up…’
Michael B. Jordan didn’t initially set out to be an actor, but he’s now on the A-list, covering major magazines like Vanity Fair, and starring in the upcoming film Creed (he stars as Rocky character Apollo Creed’s son), and also as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot, coming out in 2015. Yes, Jordan has come a long way since his days as Wallace in The Wire and Reggie on “All My Children” (ha!) and he’s definitely coming into his own. Did we mention he’s fine?
Check out more of this handsome fella, this week’s evening eye candy, on the next few pages! I’m sure he’ll start your Labor Day weekend off right thanks to those bright eyes, that sweet smile and those very alluring lips…what was I saying?
I feel for you. I feel your pain. I applaud your strength.
It isn’t easy raising these kids, particularly these young, Black men. It isn’t easy to navigate these rough waters and keeping the kids on the right path. The death of Michael Brown has set off a firestorm in the city of Ferguson, but also in the minds and hearts of an entire community that feels the sting of racism, disenfranchisement, hopelessness, and lastly, police brutality. The pain of burying your child is one I hope never to experience. To lose a teen under the black cloud of suspected (confirmed by many skeptics) murder by police is unfathomed pain.
And yet, there is an undercurrent amid this tragedy – an ugly form of positivity.
Unity. Action. The Future.
Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton penned a heartfelt, loving letter of support to the Brown Family in an op-ed piece for TIME magazine. In the piece, she offered frail words of comfort, but recognized that solidarity has bonded strangers in this fight to save children (and adults, too).
But know this: neither of their lives shall be in vain. The galvanization of our communities must be continued beyond the tragedies. While we fight injustice, we will also hold ourselves to an appropriate level of intelligent advocacy. If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us. Some will mistake that last statement as being negatively provocative. But feeling us means feeling our pain; imagining our plight as parents of slain children. We will no longer be ignored. We will bond, continue our fights for justice, and make them remember our children in an appropriate light. I would hate to think that our lawmakers and leaders would need to lose a child before protecting the rest of them and making the necessary changes NOW…
Personally, I would have liked for Mrs. Fulton to address the scourge of police brutality and abuses of power head-on. There are a likely number of reasons why she avoided it and that’s perfectly fine as she forges ahead with The Trayvon Martin Foundation. Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, was brutally honest to the Today Show’s Matt Lauer about what could change things for the better.
Justice will bring peace I believe. Him being arrested, charges being filed and a prosecution. Him being held accountable for what he did.
The time for action is here and I don’t necessarily mean rioting and looting. So, with that, I feel her pain. I hear her. She doesn’t even have to say it. One quiet night, I allowed myself the unfortunate luxury of crying for Michael Brown…and Trayvon, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride and others that have been slain senselessly. They are us. They are our children. It was so fast and uncontrollable, it is what I imagine an exorcism feels like. Those dead demons are helplessness, weakness and hopelessness. There’s no space in my body for them now. After those tears dried and the sun rose the next day, I was ready for action.
Since then, I have connected with others that are bent on change, fired up by Ferguson, and renewed to create a better day. There have been people on the front lines in Ferguson like my brother Malik and rapper/activist Talib Kweli, . There have been new alliances forged. There have been conference calls with action agendas. And then, there are the parents. Mothers and fathers (my generation) have to fill the tank back up and prepare for a long ride in the name of our kids.
There are those out there that have no regard for Black life, whatsoever. This is why Michael Brown can lie dead bleeding in the street for hours and not even get covered up. There are those that will go to extreme lengths to justify the killing of a Black person.
“He felt threatened.”
“He was a thug anyway.”
“Oh, he was ______ (fill in the black with irrelevant fact/falsehood).”
In nearby, St. Louis, a mentally challenged 23-year-old man wielding a knife was killed by police. Reports say he asked for the police to kill him and eventually lunged toward them, to which they shot him dead. There has been no outrage over the killing, but it leaves a bitter tasted in my mind. I couldn’t answer my daughters questions.
“Why don’t they shoot him in the arms or legs?”
“Don’t they have tasers?”
“Do they have to kill them dead all the time?”
It is my prayer that we begin to have intimate, ongoing and proactive (not reactive) forward moves to save our kids lives (read “Police Brutality And Our Kids: When Do You Have The Talk?”). Teach them about ways to deal with police (Read 15 Ways To Help Destroy Police Brutality). Teach them who they are (young Kings and Queens). Keep them active (painting, drawing, sports, reading, science, entrepreneurship, trades). Teach them to love themselves regardless of the haters (self love will make them value their own lives when others don’t). I pray we do any and everything within the power of our mighty village to rise up as a nation within a nation. That is my solemn request of the Creator.
‘I’ve Always Been The Person To Ask, ‘Why, Why, Why? Where’s The Proof?’ Michael B. Jordan Talks Faith
Michael B. Jordan joins ESSENCE.com in conversation about his spirituality, his mother’s battle with Lupus, and why he believes his incremental successes in Hollywood —from The Wire to most recently, Fruitvale Station—have helped him mature as an actor, and as a man.
Do you consider yourself spiritual, religious?
Spiritual. Hands down. Grew up in church. I’ve always been the person to ask, ‘Why, why, why? Where’s the proof?’ I’ve always believed in a higher power, something bigger than myself. I think you would be foolish to not feel that way.
What’s the last thing that made you remember to be grateful?
Just recently. My mom has Lupus. She’s always smiling even when I know she’s not feeling her best. She just moved up to Los Angeles a couple months ago, so she’s closer to me now. It reminds me to be grateful. Same thing with my Dad. He’s a diabetic and has complications with that from time to time. Being grateful for the things I have, family that I have around. It always kind of puts things in perspective for me.
Finish the sentence, “I am happiest when …”
I’m happiest when around my family, and that’s just like blood family, extended family, that’s my business family. I’m happiest when I’m around people that genuinely have love for me. And vice-versa. There’s no pressure. I think that’s when I’m happiest.
There’s nothing sexier than a man who loves the Lord. Visit Essence to read more about the actor’s challenges growing up in Hollywood.
Since the premiere of Fruitvale Station, Michael B. Jordan has become a hot commodity in the Hollywood circuit. Jordan has been cast in Creed, playing the grandson of Rocky‘s Apollo Creed, he’s going to be a superhero in the reboot of The Fantastic Four franchise and he was star of That Awkward Moment alongside Zac Efron and Miles Teller. Now, the (very) handsome actor has recently sealed the deal for an action drama called, Men Who Kill.
Deadline says Men Who Kill will be something like an international version of the Martin Lawrence/Will Smith movie Bad Boys. Variety also states,“The film is described as a CIA thriller with remaining plot details being kept under wraps. Fox paid in the six-figure range for the pitch and the sale makes sense given Fox’s growing relationship with rising star Jordan.”
Jordan’s film resume has been thriving since he transitioned into his adulthood. His acting merits have included the memorable television series, The Wire and Friday Night Lights as well.
We will keep you updated on Jordan’s new film and when Fox debuts the Men Who Kill trailer!
Does this movie interest you ?
Oprah is just…everything.
How many times have you looked at a famous person dressed up fancy in a magazine or on a fashion post and thought, ‘she needs to let me have that!’ when it comes to a particular item of clothing they’re wearing? Well, in the case of a Twitter follower of Oprah, simply asking for a a super expensive and gorgeous gown the mogul was seen wearing helped her get it in a flash.
According to The Huffington Post, a follower was in love with the feathered gown Oprah wore on the cover of the February issue of Essence, the cover that featured her, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The gown, is a stunning Brian Rennie for Basler gown.
“@oprah you look beautiful in that essence cover pic. WOW. CAN I please have that dress? Cuz I know u won’t wear again lol luv u“
Surprisingly, Oprah responded to the woman, saying:
“@snobaby28 you’re right I won’t wear ever again contact my asst. and show her this tweet.“
The follower wasn’t expecting a response, but as soon as she got won, she followed Oprah’s directions and hit up her people ASAP. Less than a week later, on February 21, the Atlanta native received the gown and took to Twitter to thank Lady O for her kindness:
“@Oprah THANK YOU! Recv beautiful dress. Plan to wear at my wedding when I find a groom lol but will twt pic wearing it soon. Luv u to life!“
Clearly I need to start hitting up Rihanna for all the freebies in her wardrobe if Ms. Brandi could get gifted such a fancy and pricey dress from the Queen of Talk. It just goes to show how giving Oprah is…and how lucky this Twitter follower is too!
Yesterday, we reported that Michael B. Jordan would take on the role of “The Human Torch” in the new Fantastic Four movie. By the time we published the story, racist reactions had already come flooding in. Folks, mainly behind the anonymity of a Twitter avatar, were expressing their dislike for this particular casting. Not because they don’t believe Jordan will be convincing in the role but because he’s black.
When the story was posted on JustJared, the comment section read as follows:
Jason @ 12:28 am on 02/20/2014
Why is it okay when a black actor is hired to play a white character, but they’d NEVER hire a white actor to play a black character?
#2 Jessie @ 12:41 am on 02/20/2014
no no no no no no and nooooooo!!!
#3 river @ 1:46 am on 02/20/2014
That guy is too young to play Mr.fantastic! And I’m not racist, but don’t cast a black guy to play a white super hero. But cool! Its just not right. That’s like going to a restaurant and asking for a coke. Is Pepsi ok? Only if monopoly money is ok for a tip!
#4 river @ 1:46 am on 02/20/2014
#5 nat @ 1:55 am on 02/20/2014
@Jason: name one popular superhero that is black…
Different day, same story.
It seems that folks have somehow forgotten that these characters, no matter how attached you may have become, are indeed fictional. Why is it more plausible that a man could set himself on fire with no assistance than be black?! The fact that white folks still think they are the standard when globally they are, in fact, a minority is appalling, ignorant and sad.
But luckily Michael is not fazed.
TMZ ran into Jordan and asked him what he thought of all the criticism.
TMZ: What do you have to say to purists who say you’re not white but you’re playing the human torch?
Jordan: *Shrugs* “Eh, they’re still going to see it anyway.”
Precisely. Get your money Michael!
You can watch Michael’s response in the video below.