Why Michael B. Jordan’s dating life won’t stop Black women from seeing ‘Black Panther’

The importance of the film is much bigger than petty dating news

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(Photo: Marvel)

Let’s get straight to the point here: Black women aren’t boycotting Black Panther because of Michael B. Jordan and his alleged girlfriend.

The 30-year-old actor, who plays supervillain Erik Killmonger in the forthcoming film, Black Panther, is rumored to be dating Ashlyn Castro, a Latina woman who allegedly spent Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve with the young Hollywood star.

But while plenty of Black women probably let off a sigh, an eyeroll or even dropped a “Have you seen Michael B. Jordan and his lil’ girlfriend?” in their group chats, the notion spread by Black men and very few Black women that we’re all skipping what is already the blackest event in recent history has been greatly exaggerated.

Black Panther—directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita N’yongo, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, and Daniel Kaluuya—is about the fight to save and protect the African nation of Wakanda from a vengeful Killmonger whose family was exiled by T’Challa (Boseman).

(Photo: Marvel)

Not only is this silver screen masterpiece the first Marvel franchise to have a Black superhero lead and feature a primarily all-Black cast, it is also the first time our community has seen representation at this magnitude. Seeing the majestic images plastered across the internet gives an unimaginable sense of pride and empowerment that’s not easily forgotten because of Jordan’s rumored relationship.

This swell of excitement and sensation of feeling seen is quite literally how white people feel “all the time since the beginning of cinema,” and we deserve our moment to shine regardless of the petty dating news of one cast member. Plus, if Black women began boycotting every piece of art by a Black man who chose to rock a non-Black woman on his arm, we’d be giving up a lot more than just $15 movie tickets.

Nonetheless, it goes without saying that Black men receive harsher criticism when dating outside their race, so there’s no surprise that Jordan’s alleged relations with a girl that doesn’t look like his mama became a trending topic on Black Twitter and attempted to eclipse the Black Panther convo.

In contrast, Black women like Serena Williams, Meghan Markle and Eve have been celebrated for dating non-Black men and so-called hitting the jackpot in love.

Why?

At the core of the double standard, many Black women still see Black men’s decision to date outside the bounds of race as an extension of their continual lack of support and love for their own female counterparts.

But for what it’s worth, with Michael B. Jordan, that’s not likely the case. When linked with Kendall Jenner in 2015, he was quoted in GQ as saying he didn’t see “white and black,” then later visited Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club to clear things up. “I love my sisters out there. Let’s not get it confused,” he said.

Additionally, in his 73 Questions interview with Vogue last year, when asked what’s the craziest rumor he’s ever heard about himself, he answered “that I don’t date Black women.”

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that Jordan is kinfolk, not skinfolk.

Even if some of us believe MBJ dating a non-Black woman is a slap in the face (which, let’s be clear, most of us don’t even care), we always show up to support what’s in our community’s best interest. If you need receipts, just check the 2016 presidential election polls, the recent Alabama senator poll numbers and almost every other event in history where Black women are needed to push our culture forward.

So let the record show that there’s no way we’re not going to do our part to ensure Black Panther breaks records.

On Feb. 18, prepare to see Black women with their homegirls, their sisters, their kids, their mamas, and their men (of all races) packing out every theater across the country. And for anyone who is still convinced that boycotting this movie that’s so positive and important for Black people is the right thing to do, consider canceling R. Kelly and the NFL first then get back to me.

Niki McGloster is a writer and co-founder of her sweat. She has written for ESSENCE, Genius, Billboard, VIBE and Teen Vogue. Follow her on Twitter at @missjournalism