The announcement that Johnny Storm would be played by a black guy in the new Fantastic Four really brought out the crazies - a lot of racist trolls got up in arms about a character I would lay down money they know little to nothing about (I saw a guy on the John Byrne message boards complain that it makes no sense that Johnny and Sue would be different races, as they're twins. No, they aren't). If you were wondering how Michael B. Jordan - aka the black guy in question - was taking all this, wonder no more. He wrote a piece for Entertainment Weekly, and it is superb.
This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.
To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.
I don't have that kind of largesse; my usual reaction to these people is 'fuck you' and a quick banning from our comments section. Jordan's piece (read it in full here) is loving, sad, but most of all strong - he's taking a stand. Just like the real Fantastic Four would, I think.