John Boyega talks Disney’s hypocritical marketing, and Black Lives Matter movement in new GQ interview.
John Boyega is mad and done with the old rules. After a decade in the film industry Boyega is ready to take a stand against the institutional racism rooted in both society and corporate functioning.
“I feel like, especially as celebrities, we have to talk through this filter of professionalism and emotional intelligence,” he told GQ. “Sometimes you just need to be mad. You need to lay down what it is that’s on your mind. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to play the game.”
Over the summer Boyega made a passionate mark on the Black Lives Matter protests in a now-viral speech. “I need you guys to understand how painful this shit is,” he told a crowd of raised fists as he fought through tears. “I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing! That isn’t the case anymore. That is never the case anymore. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland… for Stephen Lawrence, for Mark Duggan!”
Now he’s taking a stand against one of the largest entertainment producers in the world, the very one that boosted him into stardom in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “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. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.” Despite talking about himself, he’s also referring to Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac (“a brother from Guatemala”) who he feels were pushed aside in the Star Wars saga in favor of white characters.
“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he continued. “You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know fuck all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.”
Not the first high profile actor to criticize Big Mickey.
Anthony Mackie, who plays The Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has also recently criticized Disney for its diversity issues. “It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white,” he told Variety in a June interview.
“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore,” he continued. “He produced ‘Black Panther.’ But then when you do ‘Black Panther,’ you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”
Mackie said he’s pushing for Marvel and Disney to hire the best person for the job and will continue to use his position as a leading actor to push for change in the entertainment industry.
Check out his full discussion with Daveed Diggs (Hamilton, Snowpiercer) for Variety below.