Michael B. Jordan’s Anti-Racism Protest Speech Reflected On His Movie RolesJune 8, 2020
Michael B. Jordan is using his celebrity to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to being an outspoken ally on social media, he recently took the microphone at a police violence protest organized by Hollywood’s largest agencies (CAA, UTA, WME and ICM Partners) on May 6. Michael B. Jordan’s anti-racism protest speech explains how his film roles have taught him about racial injustice and inequality.
During his speech in front of protestors, Jordan recounted his various movie roles. In 2013, he played Oscar Grant, a man killed by police in Oakland, California, on New Year’s Day 2009 in Fruitvale Station. He said in his speech that this role gave him the "opportunity to feel the pain of [Oscar Grant’s] family, his daughter, his mother," he said, adding: "I lived with that for a very long time and it weighs on me."
Regarding the time he played a fireman who was part of a revolution against burning books in Fahrenheit 451, Jordan said, "Producing that movie made me really realize the lengths that the government and oppressors will go to keep knowledge out of your hands."
Further, Jordan said it was an "honor" to play civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson in Just Mercy — a film available to stream for free during June. "In [playing Stevenson], I learned his tactics. I learned his mentality. I learned his approach to things. Very calm. Very strategic. Very thoughtful," he said in his speech. "You have to be proximal. You have to be close to [the] issue."
After reflecting on his various movie roles, Jordan spoke more broadly about the protests "We have to be here together," he said, asking those with financial ties to the police to rethink their businesses.
Jordan further commented on the state of affairs in Hollywood, calling for change from the groups that make media come to life, and asking them to invest in Black staff. “I’m proud to have an inclusion rider and all that good stuff, and I use my power to demand diversity, but it’s time the studios and agencies … to do the same,” Jordan said, adding: "A great agent doesn’t have to be a great organizer, but a great agent could advocate for relationships with organizers."
Jordan also encouraged the protesters to keep pushing forward and making their voices heard. "What we are doing today will make our values heard and our voices heard," he said. "We’ve got to keep agitating things. We can’t be complacent. We can’t let this moment just pass us by."
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