Michael B. Jordan explains how playing Killmonger in Black Panther affected his mental health

Francis Akhalbey February 12, 2019
Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther -- Photo via Marverl

There’s no doubt Killmonger was one of the standout characters in Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan’s near-perfect portrayal of T’Challa’s arch-nemesis, however, came at a price which affected his personal life – seeking therapy as a result of the mental toll it had on him.

Speaking with Oprah Winfrey on her “SuperSoul Conversations,” Jordan admitted seeking therapy after he finished shooting the movie.

“I went to therapy, I started talking to people, starting unpacking a little bit,” he said.

He also opened up about his role and how he got in sync with the vindictive character.

“I was by myself, isolating myself,” Jordan said, as reported by USA Today. “I spent a lot of time alone,” he added.

“I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely. He didn’t have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn’t exist.”

Jordan further on explained why it was so important for him to meticulously portray Killmonger’s rage and emotions.

“Of course, it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African American perspective, so to be able to take that kind of pain and rage and all those emotions that Erik kind of represents from being Black and brown here in America…that was something I didn’t take lightly,” he said.

About the process of transitioning out of the character and being his normal self, Jordan admitted he did not have an “escape plan.”

“When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state … it caught up with me,” he admitted.

“Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out,” he said. “I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.”

He then spoke about the therapy and how important it is for men to not shy away from seeking for help if need be.

“Your mind is so powerful,” he said. “Honestly, therapy, just talking to somebody just helped me out a lot. As a man you get a lot of slack for it….I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.”

The full interview will be aired March 24th on OWN.

Last Edited by:Victor Ativie Updated: March 27, 2020


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