Michael B. Jordan had moviegoers actually cheering for the bad guy after turning in a scene-stealing performance as Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s smash hit, Black Panther.
But as Jordan prepares for the release of Creed II, the actor has come under fire for his recent comments about the need for Black people to create their own mythology.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jordan spoke about the need for a wider range of Black narratives on the big screen. The actor, who has always tried to side-step stereotypical roles, said he wants to use his production company, Outlier Society, to tell stories the mainstream media often overlooks.
While his aim is definitely admirable, one quote from his Vanity Fair profile has people up in arms.
“We don’t have any mythology, Black mythology, or folklore,” Jordan said in the cover story. “Creating our own mythology is very important because it helps dream.”
Vanity Fair tweeted out the quote, which appeared to come during a conversation about onscreen representation. Still, the seemingly inflammatory statement upset many.
“Umm yikes. @michaelb4jordan we have plenty of folklore and mythology,” one Twitter user wrote. “Read Zora Neale Hurston. Do a little research.”
— Black Tourmaline (@thesalteater) October 5, 2018
Another Twitter user used it as an opportunity to discuss the topic.
A lot of Black American folklore gets dismissed as silly superstitions, but if a white person said they’re scared to go into the woods because elves might steal their baby, they’d get a 3-movie deal and an option for a tv series. 🙂
— Nichole ✨✨✨ (@tnwhiskeywoman) October 5, 2018
Writer Nichole Perkins and actor Reagan Gomez both shared a thread of books about Black folklore from across the diaspora.
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) October 5, 2018
In the end, Gomez concluded, “None of us are experts on Black American culture even if your people go back generations. 400 plus years?? Our tales, fables & folklore is out there. Talk to the old folks in your family. Record them so their voices can live on long after you’re gone.”
It’s hard to believe Jordan actually thinks Black people don’t have a folklore history. Still, he’s right about the need to see a more diverse array of our stories told across every medium, and thankfully, he’s one of the people trying to bring our stories to the fore.