Michael B. Jordan Isn't "Cancelled," But He Is On Pause
Everyone wants to feel desired. For women, especially, whose worth is often measured by their outward appearance, validation based on physical beauty is as influential on our self-esteem as sunlight is on the growth of plants. This is not right, nor is it the way that it should be, but it is hard to overcome centuries of sexism and narrow-minded beauty standards.
For Black women, this validation is often not provided. Eurocentric ideas of beauty has fooled society into thinking that Black women are somehow more unattractive than other races of women, (particularly because many don't recognize how it is necessary for Blackness to be minimized and demeaned in order to elevate whiteness) and instead of our unique and alluring attributes being appreciated for what they are, they are used to mock and shame us. This shame, in the most hurtful and damaging way, is often supplied by men of our own race.
Unless you've been living under a rock -- or gaslighting others into believing that colorism doesn't exist is your forte -- it is almost impossible to ignore the amount of verbal abuse and degradation spewed towards Black women by Black men in the entertainment industry.
Rapper Kodak Black was filmed recording a song in which he proclaimed, "I don't want no Black bit*h," Gilbert Arenas stated in a rather half-baked and ignorant Instagram post that the only pretty Black women are light or brown-skinned, while Trick Daddy claimed that white women are more attractive than Black women and advised us to "tighten up... before Spanish and white hoes make you [Black] hoes useless," just to name a few.
The most injurious remarks, however, are those made by the Black men Black women come into contact with every day; the comments made by our "friends," coworkers, and even family members. It is for this reason that it should be no surprise that Black women are rather touchy when it comes to how Black men perceive us, especially in the realms of love and dating. When we are constantly told that our skin, hair, and bodies are ugly or not good enough, can we be blamed for thinking a Black man that exclusively dates non-Black women believes so?
The idea of a dating preference is completely logical and acceptable in and of itself, yet when paired with harmful ideologies of beauty and race, it becomes a half-cocked excuse to minimize Black women and invalidate the existence of colorism. Now, it's not right to assume that every man who dates outside of their race believes that women of their race are inferior, but there of course has to be something about them that they don't like, or their "preference" wouldn't exist.
Chris Brown, Kanye West, Taye Diggs, and a whole host of other Black men have been called out for their preference and rather lackluster treatment of Black women. The most recent Black man to have been accused of this is Michael B. Jordan, the fine as wine Marvel villain that we all love.
This is not a new rumor/accusation, Michael B. Jordan has had a reputation of having a "preference" for the longest. However, once the news outlets got ahold of a picture of him partying with only white women, Black twitter was quick to throw his cancellation party. Black women are sick and tired of being unappreciated, ignored, and made to feel less than, with good reason. This time, however, I'm not so sure that we have the right to cancel him.
He is on pause, though.
First, we have to admit that Michael B. Jordan is not a bad guy. We might not have ever seen him date a Black woman, but he has never said anything offensive, ignorant, or hateful about us. Compared to some of the other powerful Black men in the industry, he looks like a saint. Looking at his Instagram page, you see melanin everywhere, and he is quick to uplift and celebrate another Black woman in the industry (most famously, Lupita N'yongo and Issa Rae).
Knowing all of this, it's wrong to throw him in the same category as self-hating men like Kodak Black or Trick Daddy. We shouldn't be mad at him -- after all, do we really have the right to tell people who they should date and love?
Of course not.
What we can do, however, is stop fawning over and deifying him. Black women will never be able to stop certain Black men from dating who they want; that's not the problem. The problem is how we interact with them. It's unfair that men like Michael B. Jordan or Chris Brown can be confident in their desirability and worth, while beautiful Black women like Keke Palmer and Lupita N'yongo are not afforded the same privilege, but instead have to constantly defend themselves against antagonizers whose sole purpose is to drag Black women down.
Some Black women will run to the ends of the Earth to defend these entertainers (Chris Brown, especially -- I really don't understand the fascination considering he not only minimizes Black women, but is abusive and grossly narcissistic) and will buy their music, movies, and content like their life depends on it. It's time that we stop desiring and promoting these Black men that don't do the same for us.
We don't have to cancel them, but we should definitely fall back. Without our outright and very public support and adoration, where would half of these men be? Black women often underestimate our buying power and influence, but it is undeniable that the success of many Black entertainers depends on it.
Instead of going to see the next Michael B. Jordan movie in theaters, watch it online for free 99. Instead of paying streaming services to listen to Trey Songz, download his music online. Instead of coming to the support of these entertainers every time there's a controversy, watch in silence.
We shouldn't do these things to be spiteful or as punishment, but because Black women need to stop giving so much of themselves, their time and their energy, to those that don't deserve it. We are worth more, and until everyone other than ourselves realizes that, our focus should be on ourselves and our own advancement.
If Michael B. Jordan only wants to be with "Beckies," then by all means, let's let them be the ones to buy his movies and gas him up online.
The only question is if they'll actually do it.