Yesterday afternoon, the one topic of conversation that had us talking and tweeting all day long was the announcement from Warner Bros. that their entire slate of movies scheduled for theatrical release in 2021 would be released in theaters and streamed on HBO Max simultaneously. From Dune to Godzilla vs. Kong to The Suicide Squad to The Matrix 4, the news caused many an aftershock as a result of so many people’s jaws hitting the ground. It also resulted in people wondering what this news meant for the future of movie theaters, if other studios would follow suit and also release their films to streaming services and Video On Demand as well. (Disney certainly had many a person on Twitter tapping them on the shoulder and wondering if and when they would finally just bite the bullet and release Black Widow on Disney Plus already instead of saving it for next year), if Warner Bros. was being foolish by not being more patient and waiting to release their films in theaters only (especially with recent news that we’re getting closer to the release of a vaccine for COVID-19), and also led to Kristy asking Twitter to share great moviegoing experiences that they’ll never forget (which they were more than happy to share).
Of course, Disney being Disney, they made sure to remind us all that they have news worth sharing as well, even if said news wasn’t nearly as monumental in comparison to the announcement from Warner Bros.
No, they didn’t announce that they would be streaming Black Widow on Disney Plus, but they did announce some casting decisions for their upcoming series Hawkeye, starring Jeremy Renner (whose music is so bad that I’ll actually buy The Bourne Legacy on Blu-ray and watch it nonstop from now until New Year’s Day if he promises to never sing again) as the title character and (allegedly because Disney/Marvel haven’t officially confirmed it yet, even though most of us have already seen the two filming episodes together) Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop. According to Variety, Vera Farmiga (as Eleanor Bishop, mother of Kate), Fra Fee (as possibly Kazimierz “Kazi” Kazimierczak, a.k.a. Clown), Tony Dalton (as Jack Duquesne, and possibly a.k.a. Swordsman), newcomer Alaqua Cox (as Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo, a character who first appeared in the comic-book series Daredevil and who is a deaf Native American much like Cox herself in real life), Zahn McClarnon (as William Lopez, and possibly Maya’s father who is also named William “Crazy Horse” Lincoln), and last but not least, Florence Pugh (who will be reprising her role from Black Widow as Yelena Belova, sister to Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow) have all been cast to appear on Hawkeye, which is currently still in production.
And that should’ve been enough to tide people over for the time being and give them something to talk about when it comes to Marvel/Disney and what they’re up to.
But then Letitia Wright (who plays Shuri in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, and who can also be seen in the “Mangrove” episode of the Amazon anthology film series Small Axe) decided to log onto Twitter and go…
It all started when Letitia felt the need to share a link to this YouTube video on her Twitter account, accompanied by her usage of the prayer-hands emoji, which was her only comment in the tweet. The title of the video alone will be more than enough to make you raise an eyebrow before you even press PLAY.
(FYI, if Letitia’s tweets have been deleted by the time you read this thanks to Kevin Feige, the title of the video is: “COVID-19 VACCINE, SHOULD WE TAKE IT?”)
I was only able to sit through at least nine or ten minutes of this bullshit before I finally got tired and went looking for online snuff films on the Dark Web to bring me more entertainment. (I say this as someone who sat through twenty-five chapters of R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet and through all two hours of Cats. Granted, I was very, very drunk when I watched those, but still). The show’s co-host, Tomi Oriyomi — who describes himself as “an internationally received and recognized Prophet, Speaker, Author and Founder of RIG Nation, a media platform with the Christian mission established since 2007 to train people to become prophets and prophets to be people!” — immediately sounded by a proud member of Ashy Hotep Twitter as he starts the video by explaining that he grew up with two parents who were a dentist and an OB-GYN, but he doesn’t trust vaccines or understand how they work medically, and that he especially doesn’t trust any upcoming vaccines for COVID-19 as he thinks that taking the vaccine could result in us growing additional limbs or turning into Animorphs of some kind (his words, not mine). Tomi also went on to describe how social media is a greater threat to people than COVID-19 due to social media controlling what we’re told, what we have marketed towards us, and making us all go along with the herd mentality of wearing masks and practicing social distancing and believing that anyone we cross paths with could possibly be positive for COVID-19.
And if that wasn’t enough to make you roll your eyes hard enough to get them stuck in your forehead, Tomi also felt the need to express his thoughts about transgender men and women, which are just as intelligent and enlightening as his thoughts about vaccines and about this pandemic. I don’t really feel like sharing that snippet of the video here, so I’ll just quote it here.
“Look at somebody who was genetically born a male, but you say ‘That’s a girl, that’s a girl, that’s a girl, that’s a girl, that’s a girl, that’s a girl,’ enough times and eventually, you will force compliance by the composition of my speech to say something that I just technically, biologically, don’t believe in.”
Yeah. This is who Letitia Wright felt was so incredibly deserving of a bigger platform to share his views and opinions with her 366,000 followers on Twitter. Someone whose knowledge of science and current events and human sexuality couldn’t fill a shot glass. Someone who would probably be invited by Diamond and Silk for a threesome for sounding just as simple and ignorant and embarrassing as they do, but using an English accent to sound much fancier when doing so. Someone who makes me want to watch all three films of The Human Centipede trilogy in IMAX while straightening my own pubic hair with a hot comb rather than sit through another minute of his videos on YouTube.
It’s very understandable that people are both curious and cautious about taking any vaccine for COVID-19 and wanting to make absolutely sure that it will work and also not cause any dangerous side effects that would endanger anyone’s health. It’s even more understandable that Black people, particularly African-Americans, would be cautious when it comes to what the COVID-19 vaccine is truly capable of. After all, it was not that long ago, from 1932 to 1972, when up to 400 African-American men in Alabama were participants in the “Tuskegee Study” and denied actual medical treatment (and given placebos while being told that their symptoms were being treated) so that the U.S. Department of Public Service could study the long-term effects of syphilis. Then there was a three-year-long experiment in Baltimore back in the 1970s and was funded by the National Institute of Health in which 7,000 young African-American boys were tested to see if they carried a chromosome that could determine whether or not they would go on to exhibit acts of criminal behavior. And for another example of how doctors cared more about using African-Americans for medical breakthroughs that could lead to awards and publication in medical journals than they did about the actual lives and well-being of African-Americans, just Google the name “Henrietta Lacks.”
All that being said, Black people asking questions and proceeding with caution to avoid being targeted for further experimentation doesn’t and shouldn’t be interpreted as outright refusal to look after their own health and the health of others. And it didn’t take long for Letitia to be called out by Twitter for using her platform to promote such irresponsible, hurtful, and dangerous rhetoric.
Letitia Wright. That’s all. That’s the sad, sad tweet. pic.twitter.com/nI3cYG4T4L— Marc Bernardin (@marcbernardin) December 4, 2020
Letitia saw the many tweets pointing out the irony of her playing the smartest character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but saying some dumb shit in real life, tweets that pointed out the transphobia and harmful viewpoints expressed in the video, and tweets that called her out for being more willing to take advice from some random stranger in a YouTube video with no medical knowledge or training (who thinks that luciferase, the oxidative enzyme that produces bioluminescence and makes it possible for fireflies to glow, is actually connected to Lucifer a.k.a. Satan, the Prince of Darkness, instead of realizing that luciferase comes from the word lucifer, which literally means “bringer of light”) instead of taking advice from trained doctors and scientists working day and night to help end this pandemic. Despite her claiming to listen and understand what she was being told, she went on to claim that this was another example of Cancel Culture hard at work and trying to shut her down and insult her for asking questions and for being an independent thinker who simply shared a video of someone asking the same questions about the vaccine that she is.
if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled 😂— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) December 4, 2020
Which only just caused more people to look at her tweets and respond like this:
And one of the people who seemed to have that same response to her tweet? Her friend and fellow Marvel superhero, Don Cheadle, who has been playing James “War Machine” Rhodes in the MCU since he replaced Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 back in 2010.
But as quickly as that tweet went up, it was soon deleted just as quickly, and replaced with Cheadle circling the wagons and coming to Letitia’s defense as if her name was Chris Pratt.
This resulted in Twitter hopping into Cheadle’s mentions and explaining that he may want to figure out for himself why he shouldn’t be in such a rush to defend Letitia.
i will. but even if it rankles me there's no way i'm throwing her in the dustbin. 🤷🏿♂️ https://t.co/5c970XjWWc— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
i haven't seen it. i'll watch and pull her coat if it's off. i was jabbing at her for her tweet rhyming letitia with felicia. that was the joke walking from set to trailer. and if folk think i'm transphobic… 🙄 https://t.co/BZSu6JD7Ko— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
And also expressing their suspicions that it was Kevin Feige, the CEO of Marvel Studios, who made him delete his tweet and start saying nice things about Letitia.
the "disney got to him" part is hilarious. can somebody check the time stamp?!? how do you think things work out here? seriously. walk me through it. https://t.co/cRkiMjWdub— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
right?!? kinda like it doesn't really make any sense, huh? 🤔 https://t.co/Cfj9jkQwYE— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
Cheadle made it clear that he would look into what was making everyone so upset and disappointed, and any further conversations about and with Letitia would be handled off of Twitter.
i'm not. if she went transphobe, fire away. but i'll personally take it to her if she said something crazy. not to twitter. that's how i do it with friends and how i hope they do it with me if i fkkk up. trying to find it now. https://t.co/hV7NGNjxff— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
jesus… just scrolled through. hot garbage. every time i stopped and listened, he and everything he said sounded crazy and fkkkd up. i would never defend anybody posting this. but i still won't throw her away over it. the rest i'll take off twitter. had no idea. https://t.co/7uDlP1xwDL— Don "bruh, you lost" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) December 4, 2020
It’s too soon to tell what, if anything, will happen these tweets from Letitia Wright and Don Cheadle, and whether Feige or anyone else from Disney and Marvel Studios will comment to the media about it. There has already been discussion about Black Panther 2 and whether or not T’Challa should be recast with another actor since the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman this past August, and whether Letitia will step up as the film’s lead so that Shuri will take over the mantle of Black Panther as she has in the comics. But after Letitia’s recent tweets that have caused many fans to feel disappointed (and this isn’t the first time that her tweets have raised many an eyebrow in confusion and disbelief), those same fans are now wondering if Shuri will need to be recast as well, and whether we even should or will be getting a sequel to Black Panther at all.
Whatever happens next — and I’m sure that Disney and Marvel will soon find a bone that’s big enough to throw at all of us so that we have something else to talk about other than this — Black Panther 2 is still scheduled to open in theaters (and/or drop on Disney Plus simultaneously if that’s what Marvel/Disney chooses to do) on May 6, 2022.
Header Image Source: Marvel Studios