Dwayne Johnson wasn’t the only film maker to recently express an interest in developing cinematic Black Mythology. And sadly he wasn’t the only one to be dragged by a “willfully” uninformed social media mob. Right as black twitter was taking The Rock all up through there, Vanity Fair released excerpts from their Michael B Jordan cover story. Clout chasing journalists and bloggers all came to the same collusion…I mean conclusion that MBJ somehow suggested that Black Mythology did not exist. It wasn’t long before the ‘we only read the click bait headlines and rush to comment’ crowd were making memes and tweeting burns directed at the actor. No cap tho, y’all got em fkdup.
To be completely fair the interviewer shoulders some of the blame for the disjointed narrative he passes off as sophisticated journalism. it ain’t surprising that many in this niche audience couldn’t follow along. Reading is fundamental but reading comprehension is a jewel. A quick review of the conversation clearly reveals Jordan and director Steven Cagle Jr’s real objective is to bring Black Mythology to cinematic life. They informed the interviewer that Fred Hampton’s story and Mansa Musa’s story are among those that need to be told; that they want to tell.
Cagle noted, “When people look at black people it’s hard for them to think beyond slavery.”. Keep in mind his statement is in direct relation to his power to change perception through his craft. MBJ seemingly piggybacks Cagle’s observation with the infamous statement, “We don’t have any mythology, black mythology, or folklore (in film*)…Creating our own mythology (in film*) is very important because it helps dream. You help people dream.”.
Its not so alarming that people misunderstood or failed to give the statement contextual framing because people get shit twisted everyday B. What’s really disturbing is how quick people slick tried to shame Jordan for the comment. And how lacking support and recognition was for his and Cagle’s production objectives. Rather than encouraging his endeavors, they found it more important to tell the man who wants to bring Fred Hampton to the screen ‘to have a thousand seats’ because they were offended by his supposed ignorance of Brer Rabbit? Seriously?!
Perhaps we need to examine why we are generally eager to Boo and Hiss when we should Cheer and Yeah a brother on. In someways this is a defense mechanism to keep our collective insecurity about our intelligence a ‘secret’. Sorry no sorry, it ain’t working in fact it exposes it. In fighting about who got knowledge and who’s ignorant, or who’s woke or not, or hiding behind an obnoxiously boisterous facade of Intellectualism is as detrimental to our unified growth as is colorism, classism, and colonialism. Y’all know we colonized right? Right down to our hood.
Ironically a functioning Black Mythology is prime for offering modals of dealing with our current mierda. Most of our beloved Black mythology is in a state of nostalgia and rightfully so. The allegorical lessons contained therein for the most part are timely not necessarily timeless. Those stories purpose was to serve us through slavery and a predominately agricultural centered society. “But Muhphucca, This Ain’t Back In The Days, Things Done Changed”. We’ve got a whole different set of fears, traumas, and stresses on top of the lasting impression left on our dna by historic slavery in the west – the Ma’afa; the Black Holocaust.
So ‘Hey Cuzzos!’ to Michael B Jordan, Steven Cagle Jr, and The Rock for pioneering this movement and braving the fires early. I’m here for it. A resurgence of Black Mythology is needed, most of all because we got a lot of healing to do.