WhenVanity Fair’ featured Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler for their Style Disrupters feature, they had no idea their photo would spark so much controversy. The photo is of Michael and Ryan, who have teamed up twice for the movies ‘Fruitvale Station’ and ‘Creed’, in a position that is apparently considered a “man law violation”, as Michael places his hand on Ryan’s head.

For some of us who has no problem with it, we look at this photo as a portrayal of brotherly love. The rest of us thinks that two men shouldn’t touch each other, which is beyond ridiculous.

I have several problems with folks who are disturbed by this image, particularly the men because the majority of folks who are disturbed are you guys.

I’m surprised…but I’m not surprised.


Because we live in a world full of men who are conditioned to believe that anything more than a simple handshake or a hug with the opposite shoulders touching emasculates them.

Men are quick to say this “looks gay”, simply because they’ve never believed in showing vulnerability…especially around &/or with other males.

We are all placed in a position in society where we’re damned if we are and damned if we aren’t. Most of the critics noted that they’re “two grown men”. My question is what if they were father and son? Would that make a difference? Other critics said that the image “looks gay”. What if they are gay? Would it make sense to you or deepen your disapproval? Homophobia is rampant, but that’s a whole other thought piece!

Why can’t this image evoke brotherhood between the two like how the rest of us sees it? Male bonding is in no way effeminate, and to appreciate an image like this or to even take a pic like this doesn’t lessen your manhood. It’s important for us to support positive black male images because the world does a great job of making the black male angry and a threat. Media plays a huge part in that, so images like these are what’s needed to prove that they’re not. The fact that this image raises suspicion and makes people uncomfortable proves that we still have a long way to go when it comes to toxic masculinity.




Lakia Nichole

Lakia Nichole’s Blog is a platform to showcase love for my people, our culture, and all positive things in-between.