Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o are the extremely good-looking stars of the extremely good and successful Black Panther. The film and its stars are enjoying a cultural moment like few in recent memory, a rare commingling of political and cultural importance met with near-universal adoration from audiences and critics alike. That adoration has now spilled out into real life, because Jordan and Nyong’o are also definitely, absolutely in love with each other.
Let’s examine the evidence. Public interest in their romantic relationship began with a moment in this Twitter Q&A, when, 49 minutes in, Nyong’o interrupted Jordan’s answer to a totally unrelated question by demanding that he do a push-up for her. Jordan mostly laughs and calls his co-star “vicious” and “cold-blooded” while complying. As they explained in the video, he lost a bet to her, and the stakes were on-demand push-ups. Most nodded and thought, “Hm, interesting!”
Shortly after that, Nyong’o posted the following video to Instagram. Again, Jordan calls her “brutal,” laughs a little, and does the push-up. What might this mysterious bet be, still paying out dividends? They sure seem comfortable with each other. Perhaps because of the less formal setting, there’s a little more interaction this time, with a half-way hug.
This could all easily be some running inside joke between a bunch of people who did a bunch of good work together, or, as the comments underneath them feverishly speculate, it could be because the two stars are absolutely and actually in love with each other. Plausible deniability of this was possible; this felt more like ’shipping than actual inquiry.
But now comes this video from Nyong’o, issued yesterday before a cast appearance on The View, which seems to pull down the veil of plausible deniability. Folks, this is video evidence.
Speculation has long centered around the bet itself, but the video renders the bet irrelevant. Note, instead, the way Jordan immediately lights up upon sight of his co-star, complimenting her lavishly (“You look nice today; you look amazing”); the joy with which he complies with her request only increasing over time; the ease with which the two hug, multiple times, in the moments after performing the requested push-up.
According to Daily Dot, he replied to her tweet, “Bring them chocolate cakes back. You ready for round 2? #youknowyouwantthis,” which manages to be both remarkably suggestive and pretty PG. He has since deleted the tweet, which is something you only do when a) it has somehow back-fired and caused a social media firestorm for which you later have to apologize, or b) it reveals too clearly that you are actually in love with your co-worker. All of which is to say: Great job, internet, you have successfully willed this relationship into being.