John Boyega wants folks unhappy with him starring in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to know that he’s a “confident, Nigerian, Black, chocolate man” that’s proud of his heritage and not bothered by their stupidity.
In an interview with the New York Times, Boyega was asked how backlash over his casting made him feel and the young man doesn’t seem the least bothered by the controversy judging from his answer. “It made me feel fine. I’m grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. A confident, Nigerian, black, chocolate man. I’m proud of my heritage, and no man can take that away from me. I wasn’t raised to fear people with a difference of opinion. They are merely victims of a disease in their mind. To get into a serious dialogue with people who judge a person based on the melanin in their skin? They’re stupid, and I’m not going to lose sleep over people. The presale tickets have gone through the roof — their agenda has failed. Miserably.”
And he’s not kidding. As of November 20, the film had already done $50 million in pre-sales and there are projections the film will break all-time box office records. Still, Boyega says Hollywood needs to do a better job of representing folks of different backgrounds in their movies. “It’s Hollywood’s fault, for letting this get so far, that when a black person or a female, or someone from a different cultural group is cast in a movie, we have to have debates as to whether they’re placed there just to meet a [quota]. I also understand, on the flip side, where these other mentalities will arise. ‘He’s just placed there for political correctness.’ I don’t hear you guys saying that when Brad Pitt is there. When Tom Cruise is there. Hell, when Shia LaBeouf is there, you guys ain’t saying that. That is just blatant racism.
Boyega has a point, and is handling the entire ordeal with an in your face gracefulness that should be applauded. Star Wars, also starring Lupita Nyong’o, is in theaters this Friday. Will you go see it?