Michael B. Jordan Really Doesn’t Owe Anyone an Explanation For His Dating Choices…But Here’s Why He Might Feel Like He Does
Let me make one thing clear. Michael B. Jordan could marry a bar of Dove soap, a polar ice cap or damn bottle of Elmer’s glue and it wouldn’t put an end to my fantasies of sticking my tongue in his dimples. But once again, my boy has found himself at the target of side-eyes from black women everywhere as videos and photos of him getting his summer love on in Europe have surfaced on social media. And it appears that like many times in the past much of the footage is heavy on the lactose and light on the melanin.
Michael B. took to social media after visiting the Shaderoom.com and witnessing some heavy backlash in the comments section in a story that BET referred to hilariously as a “Becky’s Only Boat Party” he was in attendance to while vacationing in Italy last week. In a picture, Mike appears to be co-captain of the SS Hannah Montana with best friend Steelo Brim as the pair are surrounded by a bunch of Bella and Gigi Hadid clones (and I say that in the most complimentary way possible). When Michael B. learned he was once again caught with his hand in the “Sugar Cookies Only” jar, he offered an simple explanation: There aren’t any sistas in Italy. He went on to say that once again, he enjoys all flavors of milk, even if he’s ever only ever pictured drinking whole milk:
“News flash… OK? There’s not a lot of Black women in Italy, OK? It’s not.”
“Y’all are bugging. Y’all are doing too much. I like milk, I like chocolate milk, I like almond milk, strawberry milk, you know the cinnamon toast crunch milk? That’s pretty good.”
Here’s the thing: Michael B. Jordan doesn’t really owe anyone explanation about his dating preferences. Just like many women will confidently proclaim they won’t date a man whose is under 5’11”, King Killmonger doesn’t need to break down his dating preferences like some weird kind of food pyramid. But admittedly, seeing him live his best life repeatedly with women who don’t look like me, stings a bit and it’s an issue that is much bigger than him.
We looked at Kanye West the same way when he married Kim Kardashian and made the golden graham beauty that is Alexis Fields a mere memory. It’s the same feeling that fleets across the pits of our stomachs when we witness Khloe Kardashian attempt to get wifed by starting line-up of whomever is currently hot in the NBA. It’s the hidden suspicion we have that Kylie Jenner wouldn’t have given two damns about Travis Scott if he wasn’t black, successful and from the hood. It’s the feeling that when black men are the slightest bit successful, wealthy or famous they suddenly have their choice of a variety of women, and most days they aren’t choosing Keyshia with the cute, curly afro. The thing is, it’s not Mike’s fault nor is it Kanye’s fault or Travis’s (it’s really not Travis’s fault because I was good on that anyway). Whenever a Black man has a White woman on his arm it sends a message that the media and European beauty standards have been sending for years that repeatedly has traumatized Black women for years. It’s a message that their appearance is less than. It’s a message that everything from their style to their hair texture is only celebrated when it’s convenient for a magazine cover or music video concept or when it’s the only option.
Michael B. Jordan doesn’t owe us any explanations that he loves all of the options in the dairy aisle, or even the whole damn supermarket but the least him and other Black men can do is take into account that the backlash aren’t due to fantasies deferred, or Black women being angry or crazy and bullying Becky With Blonde Hair. It’s a about an epidemic of low self-esteem that has been handed down through generations. It has everything to do with just beginning to see more and more representations on Black beauty within the media in the past decade or so after TV, movies and magazines told us it didn’t exist outside of women who looked like Stacy Dash or Halle Berry. Maybe the anger is misdirected, but it’s not unwarranted. While consciously many of us know that it’s OK to have preferences and even we ourselves have preferences (believe it or not there are some women who believe Michael B. has nothing on that delicious Hershey Bar that is Winston Duke a.k.a. M’baku) seeing Michael B. repeatedly grinning in the face of girls who he may have never met if not given the projectory of his career and his life may make some women feel left behind or less than all over again. In addition, when it comes to beauty standards, Black men haven’t had the same uphill battle of acceptance of their appearance that their female counterparts have had. For many, the image of the Black man is associated with strength, virility and sexual stamina even to a point where it may be degrading. However, Black women have repeatedly been sent the message that they need to change the traits that are inherent to their beauty to be accepted and desired.
Michael B. Jordan could tweet tomorrow that only Caucasians need apply for his affection, and honestly that would be OK, but I do feel it’s every man of color’s responsibility to recognize that for many Black women the battle to build self-esteem and love themselves is one that begins from birth. I want my daughter to enter the world not feeling that Black beauty is the exception but the norm. She will come across as many magazine covers with Meagan Good, Lupita Nyong’o and Yara Shahidi as she does Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato. Like one of my favorite Tupac verses, I believe all young Black women should be raised feeling like black is the thing to be and that their beauty is celebrated and sought after, not settled for. When it comes to Black men you can love and desire who you want, but if you don’t recognize that there is a lot of hurt and pain living in Black women that goes beyond more than giving a damn what kind of shampoo the latest Instagram model on your arm is using, you might need to wake up. As for Michael B., maybe make some vacation plans for South Africa or the Carribbean this summer. Something tells me there’s no shortage of chocolate milk there.
You can check out Michael B. Jordan’s explanation of why a box braid wasn’t in sight on his boat party below:
Toya Sharee is a Health Resource Specialist who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.