Michael B. Jordan clarifies his thoughts on females, Black Lives Matter

MBJ GQ

We had a lot of thoughts about Michael B. Jordan’s words to GQ Magazine several days ago. Jordan, who is 28 years old, talked about how his career plan involved staying single throughout his 20s so he could just focus on his work. Jordan insisted that he was making a conscious choice to stay out of relationships even though he knows what the females want and need and he does just fine, etc. I used the word “irritated” to describe my thoughts on the excerpts that we had. As it turns out, the full interview also included some gems about how Michael dates girls of all races (he alluded to that when he talked about whether he was dating Kendall Jenner), and how he feels about #BlackLivesMatter. Suffice to say, Jordan seemed to indicate he was one of those #AllLivesMatter people. So, he was getting backlash from a lot of different people about a lot of different things. Jordan heard the criticism and he decided to write a statement about everything. Via Essence:

I have been a professional actor for most of my life, but being regarded as a leading man is new to me and has taken some getting used to. Recently I had the opportunity to be featured on the cover of one of my favorite magazines. In the interview, several points that I shared were communicated in ways that do not reflect my true feelings and opinions. In addition, there were reports written about me elsewhere that simply aren’t true. I’d like to set the record straight.

First and foremost, I believe that Black Lives Matter – unequivocally and without exception. I have never said, written, snapchatted, tweeted, Instagrammed or implied anything to the contrary. Any report that states otherwise is a complete fabrication. I portrayed Oscar Grant in my first leading role in a feature film, Fruitvale Station. I am a founding member of the Blackout for Human Rights Network. I gave a speech just a few months ago on the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement at the BET Awards. It is frustrating to see a false claim stirred up on social media which has caused my supporters to question where I stand on this crucial issue. But I am confident that my history and continued engagement with my community will speak louder than unfounded rumors.

Secondly, it is challenging to have a nuanced conversation about race and Hollywood period. This sensitive subject becomes even more complicated when you’re dealing with soundbites and articles. A simple idea or opinion can be abbreviated and distorted as it is communicated to readers out of context. Allow me to be clear about my ideas on roles traditionally reserved for White actors. My goal is for my choices and opportunities, as well as those of my fellow actors and actresses of color, to be predicated on our talent, ability and passion and not on false notions of what color an artist must be to play certain roles. I’ve had the honor to portray Black characters written and directed by Black filmmakers—a privilege that too few actors of color enjoy because of the challenges of Black artistry and access behind the camera. But in addition to those wonderful roles, I also want to have the option to play all kinds of parts with no door closed to actors and actresses like myself.

Lastly, my fans who are women mean the world to me. This is especially true of Black women, who as a group have supported my work long before the industry knew my name. I deeply regret and am ashamed that I said anything to disappoint or disparage them. I apologize with my whole heart for referring to women in the way that I did. The word ‘female’ used in the manner that I did is dismissive and strips women of their humanity. It is a slang term that guys sometimes use to sound slick and cool coming up. But words have power and I realize now more than ever that this careless language is dehumanizing, inappropriate, and immature. I’m a better man than that. This reference to women will not come out of my mouth publicly or in private again.

In all, although some of what I said was taken out of context, I take full responsibility for the interview and I apologize for the hurt and confusion it has caused. This has been an important lesson for me. I humbly ask my fans to grow with me, as I learn more about myself and this industry. Thank you.

[MBJ’s statement via Essence]

Damn, that was a great statement, right? He took the time and explained his positions. For what it’s worth, I think the All Lives Matter thing was blown out of proportion in regard to this specific GQ interview, and I believe him when he talks about his activism, views and support for #BlackLivesMatter. I also believe him when he talks about how he approaches the work, and the importance of playing characters beyond stereotypes, etc. As for what his apology about the “females” – well, I think that’s one of the best apologies I’ve ever read from a dude. Right? Am I hallucinating or can we now fall back in love with MBJ?

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Photos courtesy of GQ, WENN.

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59 Responses to “Michael B. Jordan clarifies his thoughts on females, Black Lives Matter”

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  1. Esteph says:

    Now that he’s clarified himself, I’m back on the MBJ train!

  2. Gabriella says:

    Yes. Yes we can.

  3. qwerty says:

    Sigh of relief. I can now continue to drool over his pics.

    • qwerty says:

      Wait, no. I just remembered someone mentioned the … cosmo was it? interview where he said he’d respect a woman less if she slept with him on 1st date. So, yeah…

      • Elisha says:

        Exactly. One statement where he works with a PR to craft and rewrite multiple times over? Or a series of, and proven history of, putting his foot in his mouth repeatedly? He’s shown his true colors. He will either misstep again or just be extremely guarded from here on out. Bye Felicio!

  4. Lora says:

    Take note matt damon and all the other celebrities…

  5. Catelina says:

    Good statement. I figured the whole ‘females’ thing was just a joke. A tasteless joke, but I dont think we need to disown him because of it, especially in light of his apology.

  6. Mark says:

    He didn’t even say all lives matter, so it’s stupid. It’s the internet for you they’ll twist words and make stuff up just to get outraged then people have to apolgize for nothing.

    ‘As for what his apology about the “females” – well, I think that’s one of the best apologies I’ve ever read from a dude. Right? Am I hallucinating or can we now fall back in love with MBJ?’

    Really is calling a woman a female really that bad? Are we really that desperate to get angry and complain that we’ll stop being a fan because somebody said ‘female’.

    *INB4 mansplaining accusations or unfunny quirky jokes from the other commenters*

    • Naya says:

      Oh, Mark.. Why are you so greasy? You must get through tonnes of windex wiping down the greasy residue off your comp screen. Anyway, wake me up when the term “males” is applied in the same context that “females” is applied.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      OHHH you’re the mark I keep hearing about…yeah, the descriptions fit you to a tee. Troll on.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m out of unfunny jokes. Where’s your girlfriend Mimif? Maybe she can help us out.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m still trying to figure out if Mark is male or female. Oops, I mean a man or a woman, or a boy or a girl. Anyways which one is it?

  7. AlmondJoy says:

    Love this! I forgive you, Michael!

  8. Jh says:

    Choo choooo!!

  9. Embee says:

    Wow. I am impressed with this apology statement. I did not know of him/his work before but I’m a fan now.

  10. Jimmy says:

    i ways found him to be well spoken so that original article was a big head scratcher. but he was straight up eloquent here. Yep, back on the MBJ train too!

  11. Esmom says:

    Aw, my heart melted a little bit after reading that. He’s very earnest and gracious and he confirmed my sense that we weren’t getting the full context. It did strike me funny that he apologized for using the word “female.” Out of context it does seem a bit ridiculous but I get what he’s saying and it was very well said.

  12. JENNA says:

    Please. This was written by his publicist and I don’t believe for one second that he treats women respectfully. Some people are desperate to ignore the flaws of some celebrities.

    • zinjojo says:

      Exactly. This was a very well-written apology by a publicist.

    • K says:

      And some people are desperate to be outraged. He didn’t say all lives mattered, he didn’t say he didn’t want to play black roles and he used the term females not great I don’t like it but seriously we are going to burn him at the stake? Seems over the top!

      He said he didn’t want to be pigeon holed, that he wanted all leading roles opened to him. Did he phrase it the best way probably not but it’s a great attitude he can play anything so give him anything. Also there has been no reports that he has been a jerk, is he probably a 20 something guy with money which usually makes them a bit immature and the least desirable mate of all time YEP! Will he grow out of it? Yes probably most guys do. He also knows it and clearly said he didn’t want to be in a relationship.

      He apologized everything he said was true, of course a publicist helped but he didn’t say anything that bad to begin with. The female thing was really the only truly offensive comment. The rest was twisted and taken out of context. But regardless he owned it and he didn’t have to, a lot of celebrities don’t.

      • blogdiz says:

        @K
        One does not have to be “desperate to be outraged” to clearly see that this was written by a publicist, that’s all Jenna was saying
        Furthermore Dude has been making cring worthy public utterances for a while its just now the stakes are higher
        Wish him all the best nonetheless but he is who he is

    • Jegede says:

      @Jenna –
      Pretty much.

      This was not the first time he’s said stuff like this, or made passive digs at black women.

      • Mia25 says:

        Yep. Exactly.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Seriously. First, he makes cracks about black women who get weaves or relax their hair, then he goes on to explain how he doesn’t like natural hair, that he likes hair he can run his fingers through. But all of the respect in the world, right? And that’s just one of his many digs at black women that he has made over the years. He’s been making his position clear for ages, but maybe he’s growing up. If I’m feeling charitable, maybe this time was the time that he got it through his head. I hope so.

    • GreenieWeenie says:

      I mean, what do you want from him? Does he need to write it in his own blood? This kind of skepticism…I feel like its a hallmark of capitalism. “Everyone’s trying to sell me something,” or, “How dare he not be a perfectly packaged, finished product with absolutely no public learning curve?”
      Like I dunno. He’s not Justin Beiber. He still scrambles, he’s got a career to lose, and he’s a young black actor–not Eddie Murphy, Will Smith or Samuel L. Jackson. He can’t afford the squandered opportunity that accompanies being a jerk.

      • Kitten says:

        Seriously. This times a million.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        It’s not that people want his blood, it’s that he’s been saying rude things about black women for years, so some people are wondering if he’s learned his lesson, or if he’s just learned to keep his mouth shut. He’s certainly not the first black male celebrity to make a second career out of denigrating black women over hill and over dale, especially to curry favour with their desired non-black fan bases– that phenomenon is freaking pandemic, so yes, black women have earned the right to be skeptical. People feel entitled to the loyalty of black women, even when completely running them into the ground, publicly, but even then they largely still get it. But then, if they (believe that they) don’t get enough of this support they’re ‘owed’ but never earn, if their careers don’t go exactly as they want them to go, who’s to blame? Evidently black women, so of course (to them) these women deserve the disrespect they’re always getting because everyone knows that it’s the black woman that’s holding everybody down.

    • jinni says:

      I would have taken this seriously if he had not gotten that writer ( who of course just so happens to be a black woman) to then defend him in that article not long after putting out this apology. Especially since she even admits that they barely see each other and aren’t really that close, but because he gives great hugs on the rare occasion they see one another at events we’re supposed to take her word that they are real friends and that she would know what kind of character he has/ kind of person he really is. Um, sure. I guess since she’s a black woman and saying that he’s not a jackass that makes it true. :eye-roll:

  13. Farah says:

    And not one trace of “I’m sorry if you were offended” or “I’m sorry if I offended anyone”. I see someone’s publicist actually works.

  14. kay says:

    His publicist wrote it and he’ll say something sexist the next time he promotes a movie.

    • FingerBinger says:

      The publicist wrote it but he learned his lesson. He’s not going to make anymore dopey comments about females.

  15. Ronda says:

    he shows that all it takes in hollywood is a great publicist (a raise would be in order now) and a pretty face.

  16. Hawkeye says:

    Half the battle of getting over making a mistake is apologizing for it, which I think he did very well. The other half is supporting his words with actions, which is to be determined. Here’s hoping! I really want him to succeed.

  17. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    That was a damn good apology, I appreciate that he/his publicist/what have you actually took the time to address the issues thereby explaining and giving more context as well as still apologizing for his tone and past grossness.

    Right on.

  18. nicky says:

    Was there ever any actual proof he said All Lives Matter? I never heard him claim it and we only saw a random chat in quotes clearly forged. I think the media blew this out of control and GQ added to it. Any actor saying they will look outside of their race lines for roles is not a new statement. He should’ve never been persecuted for saying such. If he didn’t look for roles not meant for him, he’d never work and its something every male black actor has always said. The only thing he needed to fix was the females line. And honestly with whats coming out of lots of actors mouths lately, i think Michael was being picked on unfairly.

    • Ahot says:

      Yup. He said it on Snapchat but was cut in the middle of his sentence. The receipts are out there. He is new black & really should stand by what he believes. I would respect it more.

  19. Lucy2 says:

    A very good statement. And a good reminder about being new to stardom and scrutiny, and how the media will pick and choose to follow a narrative.
    No one is perfect or hasn’t said something iffy, but accepting responsibility, and actually learning fom it to become a better person is awesome, and doesn’t happen enough.

  20. byland says:

    Okay, three things:

    1) His publicist totally wrote this. And that’s okay! He’s an actor, his publicist is a publicist. They both do their jobs, everything is as it should be there.

    2) I believe that he believes #BlackLivesMatter. But #AllLivesMatter, too. They do. Saying that they do doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t think black lives don’t, or that they don’t understand the signifigance of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign considering the depth of history outlining just how African-Americans have been and still are treated in this country.

    3) Not being in a relationship and focusing on his career? Totally okay. More than fine. Saying he spends time with women in limited amounts – going out and picking them up, basically – and then also saying that he doesn’t respect women who have one-night stands (a previous Glamour article)? Douchy double standards that deserve to be shamed for the misogyny they are.

    The End

    • justagirl says:

      @ byland Very observant, especially the double standard of happily engaging in one-night stands while also criticizing/slut-shaming those very women…

      IIRC, on another thread did you mention a family background with duplicity? If so, congrats for now seeing clearly, because when we grow up immersed in duplicity it’s often hard to spot, we’ve become so used to excusing poor behavior.

      • byland says:

        @justagirl It was mentioned the other day, as well – the double standard he clearly holds against women but not himself. That’s rather prevalent in society, sadly. A man goes out and sleeps with a woman he doesn’t know every weekend and he’s a stud, a woman does it and she’s a slut. Gender discrimination is a very real problem that our society seems to only pay lip service to. It’s beyond frustrating to me. Just yet another example of why feminism is so very important.

        And, yes, I did. I think it was on that terrible Marlon Wayans story. I was abused as a child and I’ve spent years in therapy as a result. My life now is wonderful and has been for some time, but growing, learning, and, yes, dealing with my past along with living in the present throws challenges, as all lives do. I remain in therapy because it’s helpful to me to have someone to talk things out with and bounce ideas off of. I talk to my husband about everything, but it’s different in therapy. I’m committed to continuing to be as happy as possible, which is very happy indeed. Thank you for your kind words.

  21. Ahot says:

    Nope. He is getting flack from black “females” because of the disrespect & slick comments he made about weaves & creamy crack & things like that over the years. Not because of whom he is dating or because he called women females.

    He forgot which group was his real support system. He Taye Diggs his way out of support with this one. He better jive on & well! Why go to Essence when he offended black women in GQ? & why put black women last in his “apology”?

    Wallace is truly dead & he won´t comeback from this. Suffice to say, whatever support Creed gets from the black community, it´s because of the director & the other actors. Not Michael B. Jordan.

  22. FrenchGirlChi says:

    I knew something wasn’t right with what was said online about his statements.
    Glad he clarified that mess.

    YES that is by far the most genuine apology I have read

  23. Sandy says:

    PC police be out of control!

    I’ll forgive Wallace for almost anything he says.

  24. jammypants says:

    ok, that was a good statement. So he does have a decent head on his shoulders.

  25. laura in LA says:

    Although I understood where he was coming from in his original comments, and as a “female” did not take any offense, he expresses and clarifies himself very well here. It seems there are a lot of celebs having to write such statements nowadays, but this is how it’s done…

    Apology accepted, MBJ!

  26. Sarah01 says:

    Thank you for not Damonsplaining, his apology should written in stone and placed where all of Hollywood can reference his apology when making an apology. Bravo!

  27. Flim says:

    Can someone tell me what he said about “females?” I can’t find it online, and can’t figure out how it was offensive. It seems like such an inoffensive word…