After being snubbed by the Academy Awards amid cries of #OscarsSoWhite, Creed finds itself the center of its own controversy.
The film's star, Michael B. Jordan, and its director, Ryan Coogler, were profiled last week by Vanity Fair, as part of a lineup of "disrupters" who were "revolutionizing, art, film, and fashion."
In addition to Creed, a film about a black boxer that was controversially nominated by the Academy Awards for its white supporting actor (Sylvester Stallone), Jordan and Coogler had formerly collaborated on Fruitvale Station. The acclaimed 2013 biopic portrayed the life and death of Oscar Grant, a black man who was killed in 2009 by a police officer in Oakland.
The magazine praised the 29-year-old actor for helping "thrust what could have been fringe stories into mainstream conversation," and the 29-year-old director for having "succeeded as a young, black filmmaker in what is often criticized as an old, white industry." The article also featured a photograph of Jordan holding Coogler's head.
But the accomplishments of these young artists were overshadowed by this photograph. Mic reports that the conversation about the picture turned nasty when B. Scott, the trans columnist who was once removed from a BET red carpet hosting gig for wearing gender-noncomforming clothes, posted the photo on his Facebook page.
“He looks like he's about to give him head. What is this,” wrote CeCe Porter, who received over 100 Likes for this comment.
“Here we go!!!!!! Hollyweird with their homosexual agenda, jamming it in our face,” stated Petro Felton. “I'm convinced Hollyweird is obsessed with gayness. Welcome to Hollyweird, how bad do you want it.”
“I dont understand. Why this pose? They could've used any pose, but they chose this one,” said Anna Fuiava. Erslarior A. Davis added, “You don't cup your brother's head like that. The gesture carrries a latent sexual signal.”
Not all commenters were outraged by the photograph. In fact, many were outraged by the antigay comments, including Diamond Curtis, whose remark had the most Likes in the feed.
“I feel sorry for some people that sexualize everything,” Curtis wrote. “It shows you are insecure about your own sexualities. All I see is two black men embracing one another like brothers.”
As Mic noted, the black community is often unjustly criticized for being too homophobic. Unfortunately, homophobia is an epidemic that affects every group, although issues like racism often complicate how it manifests and might be addressed.