Michael B. Jordan’s Muddled Remarks on Black Folklore and Mythology Stir a Similarly Confused Backlash

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Michael B. Jordan has stirred a debate online over his remarks suggesting that Black folklore does not exist.

The “Creed II” star nabbed the November cover of Vanity Fair, and in his interview he discussed what he saw as a need to create Black mythology, apparently not considering African folklore in his remarks.

Michael B. Jordan
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

“We don’t have any mythology, black mythology, or folklore,” Jordan said as he and the writer passed by billboards for FX’s “Atlanta” and HBO’s “Ballers.” “Creating our own mythology is very important because it helps dream. You help people dream.”

The full quote was tweeted out on Thursday, Oct. 4, and immediately folks were chiming in on the inaccuracy of Jordan’s comments.

“Did Michael B. Jordan mean ‘mainstream’ Black folklore?”

“A simple ‘I don’t we think we have’ would have been better. It’s ok to sit out of a convo when you don’t know the answer, and more celebs should do so. But then again when T*ffany H*dish did it some ppl lost their mind…”

“People want gods of fire & spite like Zeus or Hera, but we have John Henry, Shine, the flying Africans… When you don’t eat a scorned woman’s spaghetti, you’re adhering to folklore. We have folklore and mythology. Trust.”

“Michael B. Jordan, like the rest of us (minus his net worth), has access in some capacity to resources to be informed/educated. Even if he didn’t, to confidently suggest we [black people] have no mythology and folklore when black people been on Earth for eons is a bit weird.”

The hubbub led VF to tweet another screenshot of the article to give full context to what Jordan said, including a statement from “Creed II” director Steven Caple Jr. Caple said he and Jordan discussed Black historical figures who would make good movie subjects, including Mansa Musa of the 14th century West African Mali empire, who some estimate to be the richest man in history.

“When people look at black people it’s hard for them to think beyond slavery,” Caple said, which led into Jordan’s mythology comments.

Still, not everyone was quite so critical, and some even agreed with him. And others didn’t put the blame on Jordan at all.

“Idk any black mythology or folklore from the top of my head, so I won’t give Michael B. Jordan too much crap. That said, does he not have a publicist to brief him prior to interviews? Also not knowing something =/= its nonexistence.”

“So can y’all name some black folklore or y’all just gonna criticize criticize criticize Michael B. Jordan.”

“I know folks are quick to drag but I’m not mad at him for not knowing this is incorrect—it isn’t that most of us actually are taught these things at school,” cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux tweeted. “I’m annoyed at VF and the like for using white writers who can’t challenge statements like this bc they don’t know either.”

Jordan, meanwhile, has not responded to the chatter.

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