I wasn’t sure whether or not I would post spoilers in this review, so I delayed posting my thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens until I felt we were in safe harbor about key plot points slipping out.
You guys, this movie was fucking awesome and John Boyega as Finn is fucking awesome. I literally get emotional thinking about how much his life is going to change because he took this role. I get chills thinking about how young black boys are going to grow up always knowing a black main character in Star Wars.
As much as I fell in love with Finn, the flawed former storm trooper who reluctantly joins the resistance, I also fell in love with John Boyega and his exuberance about being part of the franchise. He is aware of his blackness and has not been afraid to discuss it in the context of being a working actor, as well as the context of Star Wars as a cultural movement. It’s not that he’s well-spoken (of course he is!) but that he’s just so matter-of-fact about the experience.
He rides hard for Peckham, too. Peckham is a majority black neighborhood in south-east London.
Lupita is in the movie as well. Yay for Lupita! But black to #BlackManPower.
I think it’s important to note that John Boyega is also a damn fine actor in this role. It’s true that this film is a retread of Episode IV: A New Hope, so if we were going to see essentially the same plot, it was essential that all the actors bring it. John did not disappoint–nobody did
Go see this movie. Celebrate black folk in space. This is a life-changing and life-saving role that will impact generations, much like Nichelle Nichols (Uhura in Star Trek) changed the lives of black girls in science.
Rashid Darden is a novelist. His website is www.oldgoldsoul.com.