Michael B. Jordan may play the villain Kilmonger in the new Marvel film Black Panther, but in real life, the actor and head of Outlier Society Productions is the hero we both want and need right now. Following Frances McDormand’s Best Actress speech at Sunday’s Academy Awards–which the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri star ended with the two words “inclusion rider”— Jordan announced that his production company will adopt inclusion riders for all projects. Maybe Kilmonger should have ruled Wakanda.
As you’re no doubt aware at this point the technical term applies primarily to industry heavyweights with clout. The rider stipulates that a project’s cast and crew must be made up of a certain percentage of women, people of colour, and at times, people with disabilities. In addition to creating more jobs for people who are often overlooked in the film industry, it also means that audiences will have more opportunities to see films and TV shows that feature a cast and crew that look like them. What a concept.
With the announcement that the actor/producer/director, who is set to star in and produce the upcoming HBO film Fahrenheit 451, will use inclusion riders for all projects going forward, Jordan’s won even more love from fans the world over. As if we weren’t already swooning hard enough over MJB, now this. You deserve all the broken retainers in the world, Michael.
Announcing plans on his Instagram account, Jordan wrote “In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society. I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.” The text accompanied a picture of the movie star along with Alana Mayo, Head of Production and Development for Outlier Society Productions, and his agent, Phil Sun.
In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society. I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward. If you want to learn more about how to support the cause – link in bio. #OutlierSociety #AnnenbergInclusionInitiative
In 2017, audiences proved that they were willing to pay to see more representation on screen. The success of Wonder Woman, The Big Sick and Black Panther proved to studio heads once and for all that a movie can succeed with a female superhero, a Pakistani leading man, and an almost all-black cast. Box office numbers don’t lie.
Thanks to the success of Black Panther, as well as Jordan’s strong reputation in Hollywood for his roles in Creed, Fruitvale Station, The Wire and Friday Night Lights (we don’t have to talk about Fantastic Four), his decision to begin implementing inclusion riders could go a long way in encouraging other production companies, including those headed by actors, to follow suit. Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Banks, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Margot Robbie and Natalie Portman are all actors heading their own production companies. The clock is ticking on future inclusion rider announcements.