Every “read” isn’t vicious or mean. Actually, the best “reads” are when you don’t realize that the “read” even took place until after it’s over and you’re like ‘hold up’. lol That’s exactly the kind of read Michael B. Jordan delivered today via a piece he wrote for Entertainment Weekly addressing the detractors of his upcoming role as Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch, a role previously played by white actors, in this summer’s installment of Fantastic Four.
He was confronted with the ethnicity change on Jimmy Kimmell’s couch last month. When Jimmy raised the issue of Johnny Storm and his on screen sister, Sue Storm played by Kata Mara, having different racial identities, Michael tried his best to deflect.
Jimmy Kimmell: Kate Mara, I don’t know if you noticed, is a white person? (crowd laughs)
Michael B. Jordan: I do know that. I’m sure there’s white people out here with other ethnicities as brothers and sisters. It doesn’t mean biological but, you know. It’s the world that we live in.
Jimmy Kimmell: Is it that you can’t reveal one of the big secrets?
Michael B. Jordan: Something like that. And it’s kinda self explanatory. That’s one of the things, I don’t like drawing attention to the ignorance sometimes.
When Jimmy continued to push the issue Michael just shrugged his shoulders. This time Mr. Jordan would address the naysayers head on and his message was loud and clear. Get your head out of the clouds, look around you and realize that its’ not 1961 and join us in 2015. Read the entire piece 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.
I love that he acknowledged the responsibility he has and the fact that he is ready and willing to carry the burden that comes with breaking barriers. FLAME ON MBJ!