Michael B. Jordan, 31, revealed that playing Erik Killmonger in Disney’s Black Panther took a toll on his mental health. During Tuesday’s live taping of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast, Jordan explained the aftermath of becoming the villain.
“I went to therapy, I started talking to people, starting unpacking a little bit,” the actor said, according to USA Today.
When asked about how he prepared for the dark role, he told the media mogul, “I was by myself, isolating myself.”
He added, “I figured Erik, 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.”
Killmonger represented the often-unmentioned trauma that can occur when minority youngsters grow up in an impoverished community. To fully convey that, the 31-year-old “shut out love.”
“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,” Jordan said.
Unfortunately, immediately after production wrapped, it was hard for him to let people back in.
“It was a little tough for me at first,” Jordan said. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out. I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.”
Therapy helped him realize how one’s thoughts can effect his or her physical life.
“Your mind is so powerful,” the actor said. “Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before. 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 episode of SuperSoul Sunday will air on the OWN Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.