Star Wars actor John Boyega has revealed his genuine worry that his impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London in June may have damaging consequences for his career.
Speaking to the Radio Times, while promoting his latest role in Steve McQueen’s drama ‘Red, White and Blue’, the actor reveals concerns about his and his family’s experience of stop and search, and how it chimes with his portrayal of Leroy Logan, a black officer who joined the Metropolitan police in the 1980s.
“Absolutely. I still have those thoughts,” he said in the interview, reflecting on the moment when he addressed the rally so memorably and powerfully.
At times fighting back tears, the Star Wars actor told the protest in Hyde Park: “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 ain’t waiting.
“I’m speaking to you from my heart. I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but fuck that.”
Boyega said he understand, looking from the outside in, it might seem ‘oh, you’ve been in this and you’ve been in that.’ But how many actors do you know who have been in big franchises? It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have stability for the rest of your life.”
The new drama ‘Red, White and Blue’ opens with police harassing a young Logan, an experience the actor has a direct connection with.
“I’ve been stopped and searched,” he said. “And my dad, who was a Pentecostal minister, got stopped on the way back from church. I was little. Everybody knows, especially if you grew up in Peckham, somebody who’s gone through the darkest scenarios with the police.”
Red, White and Blue is one of five new dramas in McQueen’s anthology Small Axe, which explores the experiences of the West Indian community in London in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.