Kelly Marie Tran Pens Powerful Op-Ed About Internet Harassment
We stand with Kelly Marie Tran.
Early this morning, The New York Times released an emotional op-ed written by Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran. Earlier this year, Tran deleted her Instagram following months of harassment after The Last Jedi’s release. As the first woman of color to have a starring role in the over forty-year-old franchise, Tran’s character, Rose Tico, became a target for angry fanboys who were furious about the direction the story had taken. This is the first time that Tran has spoken publicly about her reasons for leaving social media.
Tran writes powerfully about the way society has brainwashed her and others into believing they could only fill certain roles, on screen and in the world. She says:
I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.
This is the world I want to live in. And this is the world that I will continue to work toward.
These are the thoughts that run through my head every time I pick up a script or a screenplay or a book. I know the opportunity given to me is rare. I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing. I know how important that is. And I am not giving up.
Tran’s words harken back to an interview she gave before the release of The Last Jedi, where she spoke about how co-star John Boyega told her they were making history together. Tran’s role as Rose is historic and should be treated as such. Her passion and talent shone through in her performance as Rose, and her words here send a clear message: She is every bit the hero Rose is. She is not going anywhere, despite what the racist bigots might want.
Her piece ends with:
You might know me as Kelly.
I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a “Star Wars” movie.
I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair.
My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.
The fact that she ends with her real name is a powerful statement on identity; her promise that she is just beginning her career is also a reminder that no, she will not be defeated by the hatred aimed at her. We stand with you and support you, Loan. The Force is most definitely strong with you.
(via The New York Times, image: Lucasfilm)
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