“I don’t want to go out for any role that’s written for African-Americans in the breakdown...I want to go for any white males,"- Michael B. Jordan.
Michael B. Jordan and Issa Rae are two of the biggest influencers in Hollywood right now. The fact that both of them are talented Black innovators only adds to the allure, and their dominance is helping break down racial barriers and misconceptions in Hollywood. For years, Black actors and actresses were type-casted for specific roles. Honestly, how many more slave movies do we have to sit through? Or how many more times do we have to see the Black actor play the "cool and suave" accomplice to a lighter lead character? There was a misconception that an all Black cast was not as marketable as Caucasian cast, especially overseas. Now that Black Panther has completely destroyed that stereotype, Hollywood is yearning to capitalize off creating more movies encompassing Black casts.
Michael B. Jordan and Issa Rae sat down for Variety's "Actors on Actors" segment to interview each other, and speak about breaking down racial barriers and misconceptions in Hollywood. " I’m even seeing a turn in the industry. I would see breakdowns all the time, and to me it was just like, I could never play this lead role," admits Rae about being sent scripts that felt like they weren't written with an African-American in mind. "I just knew the type that they would go for. So I was just like, I’m not even going to bother. Now something has shifted where I’m like, fuck that, yeah, I’m going to go after that. I’ve seen that people have been receptive. A movie like [“Black Panther”] and other films from other filmmakers of color that have come out have really changed who people perceive as a leading lady. And that just feels so dope to me."
Responding to Rae's comments, Jordan revealed that he doesn't enjoy taking roles that are made specifically for Black males. "I told my agents, 'I don’t want to go out for any role that’s written for African-Americans in the breakdown.' I said, 'I want to go for any white males. That’s it. That’s all I want to do.' Because me playing that role is going to make it what it is." When Rae asked him if that strategy has worked for him, Jordan admits that it has. "They believed in me as much as I believed in myself. I think that was really important. I got no pushback whatsoever," he began. "As much as I want to be the guy that’s portraying these characters, if it’s not right, if it doesn’t fit, I’m not going to take it just for the sake of being in that role. I would much rather see somebody else that has those tools and that talent take it and be the best version of themselves."