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Michael B. Jordan, Ryan Coogler face backlash for embracing in photo

michaelbjordan ryan

Photo: Vanity Fair

Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler have caught backlash for a picture published by Vanity Fair. The photo coincided with an interview that highlighted their impressive run with Fruitvale Station and Creed.

However, some have criticized the photo and suggested that the image of two Black males embracing is effeminate and homosexual.

After we posted the image in congratulations to Jordan and Coogler, some responded negatively. Instagram user @Fettimagazine wrote, “The pose insinuates a man dominating another man. He’s palming his head.”

Another user, @Mizzlee_atl wrote, “Why is he holding his head like that anyway? What type of unity does this suggest? It does look a little suspect. Looks almost like he has his head headed towards his … How about a simple handshake?”

Other users defended the photo. User @only1shala wrote, “I see nothing wrong with the photo! I love it honestly. I don’t see  anything that says homosexual. I see two amazing black men that’s all.”

The response to the photo raises an interesting point on how masculinity is viewed within the Black community. As young boys, Black males are often taught to always remain strong, to never cry, and to always fight back at all costs. From an early age, we learn that aggression and combativeness are essential to survival. So we wrestle, slap box, and fight to show strength.

But how should we promote the importance of Black male unity? Is it possible for Black males to show solidarity in brotherhood without the image or concept becoming over sexualized?

Jordan and Coogler are young Black men who have made strides to tell unique stories in Hollywood. The photo should be viewed as two men who have developed a brotherhood while combining their talents. Jordan and Coogler represent a new age of prosperity for Black males. It should also represent a new age of Black males being able to show unity without it being questioned by homophobic voices.


  1. Darren on March 9, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t see nothing wrong with the pic at all. Looks like two black men sharing true brotherly affection, admiration, respect and friendship for one another. Not some fake “that’s my ni**a” love but true brotherhood.

  2. guest on March 10, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I don’t get where people are getting anything homosexual from the above picture. The internet sucks.

  3. Jae on March 10, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Some people should get a freaking life and stay off the internet!!!!! These dudes are like brothers!! WTH!! MISERABLE @SS PEOPLE!!!

  4. Sherri Etienne on March 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Eh, it’s whatever and however you look at it. It could be innocent, it could be gay, just depends on the viewers perception. I personally don’t understand how the heck they came to this pose to begin with. Did the photographer say hey Michael, palm Ryan’s head? Yeah, that’s it… I mean this isn’t just something you do naturally in photos. Grabbing heads is like grabbing azzes, not natural more intentional and a little intimate. Anyway, I like them both! Super proud of their accomplishments. Besides MBJ is my neighbor!

  5. Lamar Battle on March 10, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Some people are just stupid seriously.

  6. REEL on March 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I would never let another man palm my head. It is a form of disrepect and calling someone your Son. Unity can be shown with a firm handshake. I feel like black men are losing their Manhood. TOO MANY soft males are growing up and not being educated right.

  7. Likewaterforchoc on March 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Embracing?! I’ve seen teammates do this on the basketball court.

  8. redboi on March 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    The black race aka poor black communities have been filled with much covetousness, envying, and heavy jealous hearts. Until of coarse, it becomes their head being held in a photo. The worse thing to throw upon a strong black brother, or to make him feel worthless and lack street credit would be to convince everyone that he is sucking another black man’s penis. I’m done.

  9. Mehdi Akbar on March 11, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    First off, if this is gay, then I’m John Waters.

    Second, if they were gay, then okay. Right on.

  10. My2Cents on March 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Classic example of insecure “boys” trying to be homophobic to hid their DL tenancies.