Business_news Meet John Boyega, the ‘Star Wars’ actor who has been at the forefront of London’s Black Lives Matter protests


John Boyega is best known for starring in the “Star Wars” franchise reboot.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

  • John Boyega is best known for his role in the “Star Wars” franchise reboot. 
  • He is also known for being vocal about the diversity problem in Hollywood. 
  • He recentlymade headlinesfor his involvement in the Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked across the world afterGeorge Floyd‘s death. 
  • Visit business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

John Boyega is arguably best known for being cast as the first black stormtrooper in the 2015 “Star Wars” franchise reboot. Up next, he’s set to star in Steve McQueen’snew mini-series, “Small Axe.”

But acting isn’t all Boyega is known for — he’s alsovery outspokenabout diversity in Hollywood. In early June, Boyega made headlines for participating in a London protest against police brutality that was sparked by the death ofGeorge Floyd

“Black people: I love you. I appreciate you,”Boyega said at the protest.“Today is an important day. We are fighting for our rights. We are fighting for our ability to live in freedom.”

Boyega did not immediately respond to business Insider’s request for comment on this story.

Keep reading to learn more about the Actor who has become one of Hollywood’s leading voices against racism and discrimination. 

Business_news John Boyega, 27, was born in south London to Nigerian immigrants. His father is a preacher and his mother works with the disabled, according to The New York Times.

Samir Hussein / Contributor / Getty Images

Source:The New York Times

Business_news Boyega told the Guardian that he was “a nuisance in class” when he was young, but shone in the local theater. He trained with multiple theater groups while in secondary school.

Jun Sato/WireImage / Getty Images

One of his first roles was playing a leopard in a play while attending Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. At the school, he was discovered by Teresa Early, who was, at the time, the artistic director of theTheatre Peckham.

In 2003, Boyega began attendingWestminster City School, where he took part in various productions. He also trained at the Identity School of Acting and attendedSouth Thames Collegeto study for a national diploma in Performing Arts, where he played the lead in Othello.

Source:The GuardianNew York Times

Business_news His first big break came in 2011 when he was selected from a crowd of 1,500 London kids to star in the comedy-horror movie, “Attack the Block.”

John Boyega as Moses in “Attack the Block.”

Screen Gems

Source:The Guardian,The New York Times

Business_news That same year, he was set to star in an HBO TV show loosely based on the life of Mike Tyson. The pilot was not picked up.

NBC / Contributor / Getty Images

Source:Digital Spy,Indie Wire

Business_news After meeting Abrams, Boyega was cast as Finn in the “Star Wars” franchise, which made him the first black stormtrooper. At the time of his casting, he was 22 years old.

(L-R) Anthony Daniels, John Boyega, Director J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac

Jun Sato / Contributor / Getty Images

The first film in the relaunched franchise was 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” which made $2 billion at the box office.

He went on to reprise his role in both 2017’s “The Last Jedi” and 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker.” Early last year, a script for the latter film was discovered on e-Bay, after Boyega accidentallyleft it in a hotel room

ALucasfilm employeebought the script to prevent the plot of the new film from being leaked. 


Business_news After his casting in the “Star Wars” movies, Boyega dealt with hate messages and criticism from franchise fans.

Christopher Jue / Stringer / Getty Images

In a 2019 interview withHypebeast, Boyega acknowledged that sometimes, the discourse among Star Wars fans was “complicated.” 

“On Twitter, for example, I have a fan who hates the films, right? And he’ll be rude directly to me and I’ll be rude back and then they start crying like babies,” Boyega told the outlet.

“Then they’re like, ‘Why are you attacking me?’ And it’s like I thought we were on the same page. I thought we’re just going at it, we’re Star Wars fans, we’re supposed to be heated about this,” he continued. “You’ve got to take what you can give. I don’t care what profession you’re in. That’s a mantra for life.”

Business_news Boyega also starred in the 2017 film “Detroit” and has been cast in the upcoming series, “Small Axe.”

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Disney Consumer Productsfor Disney

Boyega starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s 2017 film “Detroit” about the1976 Detroit Riots, which saw numerous confrontations between the Detroit police and black residents in the area. 

In 2018, Boyega was set to participate in a project called “Hold Back the Stars” with Actress Letitia Wright, but the duo dropped out of the project, with Boyega tellingABC Audio, “We just wanted to make the vibe more black. You got to choose the right music, the right vibe, the right tone.” 

The pair is stillset to star inSteve McQueen’s upcoming mini-series, “Small Axe.” 

won the BAFTA Rising Star Award." id="in-2016-he-won-the-bafta-rising-star-award-9">

Business_news In 2016, he won the BAFTA Rising Star Award.

Samir Hussein/WireImage / Getty Images

Source: BAFTA

Business_news In 2016, he cofounded a production company called UpperRoom Entertainment Limited.

John Boyega (R) and Scott Eastwood (L)

El Pics / Contributor / Getty Images

The company produced the 2018 film “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” which Boyega starred in.

Source: Forbes

Business_news In 2020, Netflix announced a production deal with UpperRoom Entertainment Limited to develop projects about various African countries.

Adrian Edwards/GC Images / Getty Images

“I am thrilled to partner with Netflix to develop a slate of non-English language feature films focused on African stories, and my team and I are excited to develop original material,” Boyegasaid. “We are proud to grow this arm of our business with a company that shares our vision.”

Business_news His work is paying off: He is estimated to have a net worth of at least $21 million.

John Lamparski / Contributor / Getty Images

This year, the Actor made theThe Sunday Times‘ annual Young Rich List, withan estimated£17 million fortune ($21.5 million).

He’s used some of that money to surprise his parents with lavish gifts. Boyega bought his parents a new Jaguar, and in January 2020, he shared an Instagram video from 2017 in whichhe revealed thathe had bought them a house. 

Business_news Boyega is known for being outspoken. In a 2019 interview with Hypebeast, he admitted that “The Last Jedi” was “a bit iffy” for him.

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios

Boyega said in a 2019 interview withHypebeastthat he “didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of the choices in that [film].”

Specifically, he expressed disappointment that the characters in the film were not able to bond as closely as characters in the original films were able to, telling the publication: “I guess in the originalStar Wars films there was much more of a trio feel where it was essentially about Luke’s journey, but, Han and Leia, there was a strong dynamic.”

“The Last Jedi” went on to receivepositive reviewsfrom critics, but the final film in the Star Wars received lukewarm reviews, scoring just 52% onRotten Tomatoes

When asked in2019 by Varietyif Boyega was interested in reprising his role if the Star Wars franchise was re-launched again, he said, “You ain’t going to Disney Plus me!”

Business_news He has also used his platform to criticize Hollywood’s lack of diversity.

Christopher Jue / Stringer / Getty Images

In 2017, Boyega gave an interview withGQ Magazinewhere he said: “There are no black people on game of Thrones … You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings.”

“I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen,” he continued.

Business_news Now, he’s on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in London.

Actor John Boyega speaks to the crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park on June 3, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In late May, Boyegatweetedhis outrage about the death of George Floyd. The move received some criticism from his fans. He then went on Instagram live to address those fans, saying:  “F— you, racist white people. I said what I said. And if you don’t f—ing like it, go suck a d—.”

In early June, he led one of London’s Black Lives Matter protests.

The protest was one of many that have been sparked across the world after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd’s death has created a re-examination of systematic racism in the United States and throughout the world. 

“Black people: I love you. I appreciate you,” Boyegacontinued at the protest. “Today is an important day. We are fighting for our rights. We are fighting for our ability to live in freedom.”

He has received support from key players in Hollywood, including Jordan Peele,who said, “We got you, John,” after it was insinuated that Boyega might not have a career after speaking out.

Numerous directors and filmmakershave since also tweetedtheir wish to work with Boyega, including Olivia Wilde, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Cathy Yan.


John Boyega

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