John Boyega Is Glad Moses Ingram and Others Are Getting the Studio Support He Should’ve Had
John Boyega was a wake-up call for Lucasfilm and Disney in the way that fans attack actors, and the way that’s amplified by racism. We’d seen it (as fans of Star Wars) with Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks in the prequels, and we knew how horrid this fanbase could be. So, when Finn came to us in the sequel trilogy, it sadly wasn’t surprising when racist vitriol was spat at Boyega at every given turn.
In the time between Boyega’s tenure with Star Wars and the inclusion of characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Reva (played by Moses Ingram) and even with the horrific online response to creatives like Krystina Arielle, the company has begun to show that they understand what it means to stand behind their team. The studio released statements of support for Ingram when she received racist DMs on social media and tweeted their love for Arielle when she was being targeted by right-wing personalities online.
The shift comes at a time when Disney and Lucasfilm’s willingness to share their support no longer really applies to him, but that doesn’t mean that he’s holding any anger about it. In a new interview on Sirius XM, Boyega talked about the difference in Disney’s reaction to what Boyega went through vs. what recently happened with Ingram after the premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi. For Boyega (and his The Last Jedi co-star Kelly Marie Tran), the attacks online were constant, and there didn’t seem to be any forward motion from the studio to protect their actors from these racist attacks.
“That’s how it goes, man. That’s how it goes,” Boyega said in response to host John Fugelsang’s point that it didn’t seem like there was a game plan for what was happening with Boyega during his time in Star Wars. “But that’s the peace that I felt. Moses Ingram being protected makes me feel protect, do you understand what I’m saying? It makes me feel like cool I am not the elephant in the room because when I started, it wasn’t really a conversation that you could bring up. You know how they went through it. ‘Let’s just be silent,’ it wasn’t a conversation you could bring up but now blatant it is, to see how Ewan McGregor comes and supports, it, for me, fulfills my time where I didn’t get the support. It doesn’t make me feel bitter at all.”
Boyega went on to talk about how his father taught him how, sometimes, you’re not the one who gets the reward but the one who paves the way. “It makes me feel like sometimes you’re that guy. And my dad taught me that. Sometimes, you’re not the guy to get the blessing, and sometimes, you’re Moses. You lead the people to the mountain, but you see the destination, you don’t get to go in. You get others to go in, and that’s where you get your happiness from. And for me, to see other people accepted and at the same time to see the studios like ‘Okay cool this is not an elephant in the room conversation, we need to support our Black client’ is amazing.”
Don’t expect to see Finn back in live-action, though
The minute that Oscar Isaac started to change his tune on whether or not he’d come back to Star Wars, the floodgates opened (for me at least) on begging to see Finn/Poe back in action once more. But that doesn’t mean that Boyega is on board, because when asked about it in the interview, he said simply that he’s cool for now.
“At this point I’m cool off it. I’m good off it,” Boyega said. “I think Finn is at a good confirmation point where you can just enjoy him in other things, the games, the animation. But I feel like ‘[Episode] VII’ to ‘[Episode] IX’ was good for me.”
Boyega is more diplomatic than I would be, given his history with the franchise and the response to Finn he had to endure. He gave a brilliant quote about lessons he’s learned from actors like Jamie Foxx and Viola Davis about his career path: “To be fair, [with] the allies that I’ve found within Joel Taylor and Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris, Viola Davis, all these people I’ve been working with … versatility is my path.”
The entire interview showed the grace that Boyega has, despite all of us knowing that he should have never had to go through what he did, but hearing him talk about how he feels protected because actors like Moses Ingram have a support system now when he did not? It’s great to see him happy that things are changing, but that can never excuse the racist reaction to him in the first place.
(featured image: Lucasfilm)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]