John Boyega gets deep into his experience working with Disney as an actor on Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker.
As the cover star for the October edition of British GQ, the actor opens up on how he felt his race was used by the corporation.
“What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side,” he said to the magazine.
He continues, “It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
His character, Finn– the first Black storm trooper to appear in the film series– was highlighted in ad campaigns promoting the movie. However, the story did not center him at all. This did not hinder racist fans of the trilogy and they flocked to Boyega’s social media with threats and messages of hate.
“Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it],” Boyega said to GQ.
“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.”
On Twitter, he shared his intent with sharing his feelings, explaining how his remarks are “about clarity to an anger that can be seen as selfish, disruptive, and self-indulgent.”
He also discusses the Black Lives Matter movement with British GQ. In June, Boyega marched in rallies and gave a passionate speech through a megaphone that instantly went viral.
“Black lives have always mattered, we have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded, regardless, and now is the time. I aint waitin’,” he yelled during the protest, in a video uploaded by CBS News.
Reflecting on the impromptu moment, the actor shares the feelings behind his words.
“The videos don’t do it any justice, because, you guys are watching a video of me. I’m there so my POV is completely different. I just catch the eyes of individual black people, especially Black men,” he says.
“I saw vulnerability in a lot of Black men’s eyes that made me cry because you don’t get to see that.”
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