Michael B. Jordan is on the cover of ESSENCE, but you probably know this already thanks to the considerable amount of folks who’ve been swooning on your Twitter timeline since yesterday, right? Shout out to filmmaker Matthew Cherry (who also happens to be a creative executive at Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw productions—we see you!) for the A1 interview. The two notable men discussed everything from Jordan’s film and TV company, Outlier Society Productions, to the announcement he made in March about adopting an inclusion rider to ensure diversity among cast and crew.
“Actions speak louder than words. I want to lead by example,” Jordan told ESSENCE. “I know I had an opportunity with the shows and projects I had coming up, to put it to work. It’s important to have diversity both in front of and behind the camera, and inclusion riders make sure that anyone who does business with my company knows that we expect there to be people of color, women, LGBT folks, and people with disabilities in key positions on our crews and productions staffs.”
But even with all the amazing work he’s doing, you know folks still gotta find something to be mad about. Remember those rumors that he doesn’t date Black women? “Couldn’t be further from the truth,” he told ESSENCE separate from his cover interview. But wait—let us take you back:
Basically, amid all the ESSENCE cover hype, the actor came under fire after he shared Nick Grant’s “Black Woman” video. Apparently, some folks are still feeling salty about his alleged ties to model Ashlyn Castro. “[Where] is your lame girl Ashtray? Nah don’t be making $$ off of us,” one user wrote. “We already know you like dating teenage white girls…you ain’t slick.”
Another stated, “Lmao I respect you as an actor and love your work, but we all know this post is just another attempt to pander to Black women. If you truly cared about us, there’ll be no need to state that in every interview. It’s like you’re trying to prove something to yourself.”
Jordan says that he and his family have “laughed” about it.
“It’s so funny to everybody because it couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continued. “My dad and my mom both said, ‘If they only knew.’ If they only knew. And that’s the thing that keeps me not tripping about it, you know what I mean?”
“I’m finally starting to get to a place now where I don’t care, but it bothered me for a minute,” he added. “It made me more conscious of things I say and how I move, and what could happen if I leave a club or a restaurant or the movies. If I leave anywhere, any known place with anybody, there’s going to be speculation.”
Which reminds us, during a recent press run for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Donald Glover shared his own piece regarding loving differently while being “woke.”
“That’s what love really is at the end of day, it’s not even a selflessness, but it’s like an understanding that I’m making a safe place for you,” he told Global Grind. “It’s not safe out there for anybody in this film. Somebody is out to get you, that’s just the nature of being. I feel like you can totally love somebody and still look out for yourself, but I think the question really is do you see that thing or that someone else as a part of you? Do you see it as we are people together or we are a tribe together or we depend on each other? Then you’re always going to want the best for them.”
Anyway. Y’all are gonna let Michael B. Jordan live, okay? And catch him in Fahrenheit 451 when it premieres on HBO this Saturday while you’re at it.