Star Wars: John Boyega Reflects on the Racism He Experienced With the Franchise
Star Wars' John Boyega took some time to reflect on the racism he experienced with the franchise this week. In an interview with British GQ, the actor talked about his time as part of the massively successful franchise and completely spoke his mind. The headlines will grab a lot of eyes because of his personal experience, but the issues he raises struck a chord with a lot of the fanbase. There's no question now that the reaction to the sequel trilogy as a whole has become more deafening than the films themselves. These comments from Boyega will no doubt add fuel to those fires within the fandom. A gifted actor didn't have quite the workload that he anticipated when he signed on to the franchise and he's outlining ways in which that can change for the next person up.
Boyega talks about a hired stylist, "cringing at certain clothes I wanted to go for" during the press run for The Force Awakens. Then, there was a hairdresser didn't have experience working with Black hair but, "still had the guts to pretend." It wasn't long until the tension begins to wear on a person. "During the press of [The Force Awakens] I went along with it," he said. "And obviously at the time I was very genuinely happy to be a part of it. But my dad always tells me one thing: 'Don't overpay with respect.' You can pay respect, but sometimes you'll be overpaying and selling yourself short."
"It's sometimes the ignorance of people that think that what you see in the media of any actor or footballer represents the entirety of their experience."— British GQ (@BritishGQ) September 2, 2020
Actor and activist @JohnBoyega speaks to @Jimfam about #StarWars and being a black man in Hollywood: https://t.co/klRRrK5wR8 pic.twitter.com/qfUzu8cEQr
"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," Boyega continued. "Let's just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, 'I got given this opportunity but I'm in an industry that wasn't even ready for me.' Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, 'Black this and black that and you shouldn't be a Stormtrooper.' Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I'm this way. That's my frustration."
Comicbook.com had the chance to talk to Boyega during the press run for The Rise of Skywalker and he said he was ready for life after the movies.
"Yeah! Yeah, I'm ready for life after Star Wars," Boyega laughed. "After Star Wars, that's when the check clears. Life after Star Wars is about to be lit. It's bittersweet because of the connections we made on set, the amazing people, important people to my life specifically Oscar [Issac] and Daisy [Ridley]. Now, I'm ready to see our relationships grow and flourish in the real world."
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