This evening, Michael B. Jordan, king of our hearts and Killmonger of Black Panther, collected the MTV Music & TV Award for Best Villain. The competition was tough. Jordan was up against Audrey Plaza's manic Lenny in Legion, the brooding Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the purple, eight-foot tall, potential zaddy Thanos (Josh Brolin) of Avengers: Infinity War.
During his acceptance speech, though, Jordan named someone else as his biggest competition for Villain of the Year: Roseanne Barr, the Roseanne creator whose show was cancelled by ABC after she sent a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. “I’m shocked that I won this award for Best Villain. I thought Roseanne had this in the bag," Jordan quipped.
Killmonger is an inimitable villain. He carves scars on his body to keep track of his kills. He ruthlessly pursues King T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) throne. He wants to turn Wakanda into an empire. Even still, he's absolutely no match for Roseanne Barr, who has continued to maintain a hate fueled, conspiracy theory-laden Twitter feed even after it led to the cancellation of her reboot show, which happened to be one of the top rated shows in ABC's history.
On May 29, in a supposed Ambien-induced haze, Barr shot off a tweet likening Jarrett, a Black woman, to a character from Planet of the Apes. In the past, Barr had faced no professional consequences for her tweets. This time was different. Hours after she sent the tweet, ABC retaliated by cancelling her show. ABC's Channing Dungey, the first Black woman to head a major TV network, said in a statement, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” ABC is apparently in the process of securing a Barr-free spin-off.
Given this incident, Jordan's joke, which was seamlessly and casually folded into his speech, landed well among audience members. The tweets were enthusiastic and gif-filled.
If only similar bombshells could drop in every speech — then awards shows would be a nonstop adrenaline rush of shade and gif reactions.