Michael B. Jordan responds to Racism about Black Human Torch!

When it was announced that Michael B. Jordan had been cast to play the role of The Human Torch in 2015’s Fantastic Four film reboot, the news was met with criticism that ran the gamete from not being faithful to the comics to downright plain old racism. The last time the fires were this hot over a superhero race swap was when Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Thor. Now considering Idris straight up killed it and I’m more open minded when it comes to film adaptations I did not lose my mind.

Now Michael has decided to respond to the very load criticism in a Entertainment Weekly in a piece titled Why I’m Torching the Color Line.  Check it out 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!”

f4-johnnyIt 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.

Fantastic Four stars Miles Teller as Mr. Fantatic, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch and Jamie Bell as the Thing. The film, directed by Joshua Trank, is scheduled to open August 7, 2015.

What do you think of all this?

Sound off below!

More as it Breaks!

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[Source: Lovebscott.com]

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Caribbean born college lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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37 thoughts on “Michael B. Jordan responds to Racism about Black Human Torch!

  • May 23, 2015 at 12:33 am
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    You want to know WHY they are breaking tradition and giving white characters to black actors????? It’s the ONLY way they will get on the big screen. 411 folks. These white writers and directors aren’t interested in giving ANY props to blacks and other minorities UNLESS it’s making the white movie star shine. PERIOD. So let’s do something about it. There are too many black multimillionairies in this country for the only big name animated feature we are known for by the American white demographic is bay bays kids. We can start our own line of animated features online, show case them maybe on youtube, a currently free outlet and instill some black pride in ourselves particularly for our kids. I want a black kid to be able to say, ‘ I wanna be _______ like white kids say, I wanna be superman or batman or wonder woman or the flash. We CANNOT sit back and wait or expect white people to do it because as a demographic they could care less.

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    • May 24, 2015 at 5:00 am
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      LOL why cant a black kid say i want to be batman? You’re racist. I’m sure there are white kids that look up to obama and want to be president.

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      • May 24, 2015 at 9:55 am
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        How is that racist? You sure sound confused. Black children should be able to look up to people who look like them, that is one way they gain a sense of pride in the colour of their skin.

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      • June 16, 2015 at 3:38 am
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        Exactly! I’ve always wanted to be James Bond until one day someone told me,I can’t because he’s white and I’m black. Racism and bigotry are taught kids don’t pay attention to it until someone introduces it.

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    • June 5, 2015 at 11:34 am
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      It lets you know where we are at in society when you read the hateful commentary about this young black actor getting this role. Odd though. I have not seen this same misguided passion over the years of cinema when white directors and film producers have cast white actors and actresses for people who were non white in real life history in the movies. Emphasizes: REAL LIFE . REAL people. Theres enough room for ALL races to shine in the movies. Lets stop being so selfish, hateful, and narrow-minded.

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  • May 23, 2015 at 1:46 am
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    What’s quite interesting if you can be patient with me for a moment. Black characters have had stories but not their people to represent them. To share with the world a diversity that is quite real in the waking world. It’s a monumental task when in actuality it’s quite trivial. Black characters have had their race and origin replaced several times over. To even it out we should take black culture away from non-blacks and whites. I think that would be rather fair. As whites do not appreciate blacks as their fellow human being. I have to see more black heroes that are originally black.

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    • May 24, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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      My point EXACTLY!

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    • June 5, 2015 at 11:46 am
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      Thank you for saying that. Its so true, but a lot of white people will get upset when you point out those simple realities.. I feel sorry for anyone who is so self centered and narrowed minded, and MISINFORMED that they do not think any other race on this planet, besides their ancestorors ,contributed positively to this world, or that no other race has as glorious or romantized a history as the white race does. Any one seen ONE hollywood endeavor over the last 75 years give props to the Moors of Northern Africa. They were an exceptional sect that helped turn Europe into a more civilized culture with their contributions in mathmatics and science. Research my black children and be proud.

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  • May 23, 2015 at 11:52 am
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    black Human Torch …. meh – its no different than Cap now being Falcon, or Thor being a Woman.. besides when you look at the many years of alternate realities that is Marvel, then what is one more really? In this alternate reality the Torch happens to be black, excuse me african-american)…. who cares as long as the movie is good.

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  • May 23, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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    I think the Human Torch being African American is bringing a new perspective to the Marvel Universe. So what that’s not how it is on the comic books, so what? I can’t wait to see this new director’s take on an already established story. Hopefully there are no setbacks for it getting to the theater August 7, because I will be first in line at my local theater!

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    • June 16, 2015 at 3:44 am
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      I love it because it’s just a great casting choice and not something contrived to “add color” to a predominantly Caucasian cast. I think it’s going to be a great flick due to the level of talent is in it.

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    • May 23, 2015 at 7:22 pm
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      than give back every piece of rock and roll, hip hop dance and every other form of entertainment that was stolen plagiarized or otherwise repackaged and I’ll give you some melanin

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  • May 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm
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    I love Michael B. Jordan’s casting as Johnny Storm. It was the thing that had me excited about this film. I wish they had cast Susan Storm as African American as well, so we could see an interracial romantic couple on the big screen, but that seems to be a line Hollywood’s not really ready to cross yet.

    That said, from the story bits that have been talked about and the trailer, this does not look like a good superhero film. It looks like a middling sci-fi film. That could turn out well. Captain America was a great war film and Winter Soldier was a great spy thriller and both were great superhero movies. I hope it turns out well, but it’s not one I’m rushing to see in the theatre.

    This is a great response from Michael though.

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  • May 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm
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    Actually, I’m fine with this, but I think that if Johnny Storm was black, so should Sue Storm. The idea of having the hot-head and the researcher be black would have been cool. Then you have Reed who’s white, and Sue, who’s black, allowing for a mixed relationship, which would have been damn cool.

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  • May 24, 2015 at 12:28 am
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    I dunno man, is he coming on as JOHNNY STORM, or what. The ORIGINAL Human Torch was an ANDROID, SO IF I, AS A BLACK MAN, object to it, SO BE IT! Doesn’t make me racist

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    • June 16, 2015 at 3:49 am
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      If you object to it for non racial motivated reasons so be it, that’s cool. I can be a bit of a purist when it comes to comics also. I.E I thought Chris Evans looked too young to be Cpt. America it’s not prejudice it’s just the image I’ve always had of him. But now I think he’s great! We all know the bigots when we hear them lol.

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  • May 24, 2015 at 1:42 am
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    The issue with him being Johnny Storm is much deeper than race. This has to do with changing an entire team of heroes to fit some Hollywood’s director take on the first family of Marvel, it’s not going fly for the long term, and they will only get short term mileage out of this. There using Michael B Jordan, as a spokesman for the marketing arm of the film to appeal to nonwhite movie customers. The sad thing is that in the end he and this movie will be a small footnote in superhero movie history that no one will remember or think of. And btw I’m black!!!

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  • May 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm
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    So many coon ass uncle toms in the comment section and fucking crackkka honkkkies coming to this website is ridiculous. Stay the fuck away. White parasitic scum.

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  • May 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm
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    Truthfully, I think there’s something more to this sudden insurgence of black heroes. Like all of the sudden all these white creators,artists and or writers after all these years of white domination in comics miraculously get some since of ethics and morality?!? C’mon man! They didn’t even start at the bottom of the roster they went straight to the untouchable characters but still there’s literally thousands of black writers,artists and creators who they’re keeping out the club. I mean you take some of white America’s most iconic HEROS like Captain Afrigginmerica,Spider-Man and Batman just to name a few and make them black?!? Yet they’re all still under the auspicious of white leadership. As my teachers would say;always consider the source. Given their history they have never been able to support black values. Something sinister is afoot! (In my superhero voice)

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  • May 27, 2015 at 5:28 am
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    I don’t agree with gender or race swaps. Give me characters that are already black that are in or have been in print. Bring them up in popularity and quite pushing them to the back burner everytime a stunt / gimmick swap shows up. Or create brand new IPs and monikers actually market original ideas.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 5:30 am
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    I want to see Prowler and Cardiac show back up in full force. Prowler should have replaced Ultimate Spider-Man and taken over that identity or better yet got his own series. Have him fight AIM or something / early foundation for Alchemax maybe?

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    • May 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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      You didn’t read Ultimate Spider-man, did you? 1. It’s set in the Ultimate Universe which don’t have the Prowler, Cardiac, or ALchemax you’re familiar with. 2. Prowler was a major part of Ultimate Spider-man’s first story arc. He’s Miles Morales’ Uncle.

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      • May 27, 2015 at 5:36 pm
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        On my reading list the Ultimate Line has always been very low. I know he was the uncle but it seems kind of wasteful to kill off two characters to put in a generally less innovative character into the mix. Having the Prowler step forward as a hero character would have been great to see. Would have interesting to see the Prowler fake all the spider powers with gadgets. Although there was more than one incarnation in the 616 version it seems like they took and made the title a fodder character to build up Morales. I know there is no Alchemax in the Ultimate Universe that is why I said “Early foundation of Alchemax”.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm
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    It seems like more often swapping a character out pushes established black characters to the back burners.

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  • May 31, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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    It’s time that these comic books hero’s be played by other people instead of whites . If they keep making movies like the ten commandment or cleopatra . The passion of Christ or exodus. Then it’s time for us to step in their area. Just saying …….. Can’t just do you and we can’t do us.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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    I have to agree with Toney Carter, this is deeper than race. Folks want to see a great FF movie with a cast that looks like the comics and not change it up for divirsity sakes. Shoot I get pissed when I see Interracial couples on commercials or comics ( not because I hate white folks or mixed couples, but I would first like to see two black people together in something and not skip over it for divirsity reasons). it took forever to see black people on tv and now they have to be coupled with another race in the name of divirsity? the Same same could be said with this FF movie.

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  • June 12, 2015 at 4:03 am
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    That goes back to the root of the problem which is the men behind the casting,the writers and ultimately the producers of the movie. As for comics it’s in the hands of creators,writers and the people that make the decisions. Im willing to bet its white guy, white guy, white guy aaaannnd white guy,so how can we expect white guys to show fairness to black characters or their black readers?!?

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  • June 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm
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    To echo Bert:

    “You want to know WHY they are breaking tradition and giving white characters to black actors????? It’s the ONLY way they will get on the big screen. 411 folks. These white writers and directors aren’t interested in giving ANY props to blacks and other minorities UNLESS it’s making the white movie star shine. PERIOD.”

    F*** marvel entirely touting its heroic male whiteness: chris evans/pratt/hemsworth. each of its movie franchises has its one black support and we’re waiting until 2018 to see the film devoted to character Black Panther, the “spear chucker” from africa imagined by white men in the sixties.

    Reply

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