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Michael B. Jordan Explains Why He Targeted “White Roles!”

12 September 2018 Lifestyle, MXO Entertainment News No Comment


By Ryan Velez

Posted September 12th 2018




Michael B. Jordan has become one of the great black names in Hollywood, not afraid to tackle layered characters that provide complex looks into the worlds and issues of black people. However, The Root draws attention to one little-known fact about the actor, that at one point he exclusively targeted roles that were originally meant for white actors.

The point originally came up in a conversation he had with Issa Rae for Variety’s TV show Actors on Actors. Around the time he was working on Fruitvale Station, he told his agents to put a filter on exactly the types of roles sent his way. “[I told my agents] I don’t want to go out for any role that’s written for African Americans in the breakdown,” Jordan told Rae, who nodded knowingly in response. “I want to only go for, like, [roles written for] white males. That’s it. Me playing that role is going to make it what it is. I don’t want any pre-bias on the character.” He went on to say, “write what they know, what their encounters of us would be. And that’s a slight bias.”

Context matters a lot here. When saying “encounters of us” he pointed towards Rae, a silent indicator that he was talking about non-black writers writing black characters, as opposed to not wanting to play characters originally intended to be black.

“That’s why Chronicle was such a big role for me,” he continued. In that role, he played a black teen who discovered he had the powers of telekinesis. The role was clearly written for a white teen, including an original European last name, but Jordan landed the role. He would have a similar role when playing superhero The Human Torch, a character that has been white since his debut in the 60s.

In many ways, Jordan’s point here is interesting. We often talk about the lack of black actors and black directors, especially on high-profile projects. However, the need for black writers generally gets ignored. However, a black writer will see things through a different lens, so it ’s not hard to see how Jordan could get frustrated with a non-black take on a black character. The good news with this, at least, is that with his current fame, he will probably have his pick of roles for the time being.

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