John Boyega details being stopped and searched by police and admits fears he would not ‘have a career’ after his impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest
John Boyega has spoken out about his experience with being stopped and searched by police and revealed he was ‘absolutely’ worried he would not have a career left after his impassioned Black Lives Matter speech earlier this year.
The Star Wars actor, 28, revealed that he and his family were ‘stopped and searched’ while growing up in south London, referring to controversial laws that allow police to stop an individual if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to carry out a search.
He went on to explain ‘everybody’, especially those who ‘grew up in Peckham’, knows somebody who has been through ‘the darkest scenarios with the police’.
Searched: John Boyega revealed that he has been ‘stopped and searched’, referring to laws that allow police to stop an individual if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to carry out a search
While promoting his latest venture Red, White and Blue, he told this week’s Radio Times: ‘I’ve been stopped and searched.
‘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. I do. I know a few people.’
The TV star’s latest venture sees John starring as Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue – one of five new dramas in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe miniseries.
The drama explores the experiences of the West Indian community in London from the 1960s until the 1980s.
Leroy is a real-life black police officer who joined the force in the 1980s and spent three decades with the Met, being awarded an MBE for his work tackling racism.
Police racism: The 28-year-old Star Wars actor’s latest venture sees him starring as Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue – one of five dramas in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe miniseries
The drama series begins with police officers harassing Logan as a young boy and continues to depict the moment that he was inspired to join the force – when two officers assaulted his father.
The third film in McQueen’s series tackles police racism and one of the most intense scenes sees Logan experiencing casual racism from other recruits while in a police locker room.
‘So that reaction was all natural to the character and the choices I thought he would make.’
Heartfelt speech: John also reflected on the impassioned speech he gave during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park back in June, after the killing of George Floyd on May 25
The Attack The Block actor also reflected on the impassioned speech he gave at a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park back in June.
The demonstration came after the killing of George Floyd on May 25, when police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck in Minneapolis for nearly nine minutes.
George’s death quickly led to global protests against racism, colonialism and police brutality – including when a 15,000-strong crowd gathered at Hyde Park.
At the protest, John spoke out against the killing of George Floyd and said he ‘didn’t know’ if he would have a career after making his views known and ‘speaking from the heart’.
He told the crowd: ‘We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland.
‘We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence.
‘I’m speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that.’
He went on: ‘I need you to understand how painful this s**t is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case any more, that was never the case any more.’
Looking back on his speech when speaking to Radio Times, he said that his address ‘was not a strategic move’ and insisted that no ‘PR people’ were involved in his decision to speak out.
Black Lives Matter: Looking back on his speech, he said that he was ‘absolutely’ worried that there would be career consequences afterwards as he was aware it was ‘going to go global’
He continued: ‘No advisers. No PR people. It was just me in that moment. It was just the intensity of the time and what was bubbling in our global community. To speak out wasn’t a strategic move. It just happened, really.’
The star went on to explain that although it can be ‘easier’ to keep your head down, it ‘doesn’t really sit well with me’.
Read the full feature in this week’s Radio Times, out now
John added that he was ‘absolutely’ worried that there would be career consequences following his speech as he was very aware it was ‘going to go global’.
He added: ‘When I was expressing my truth, in my anger, I was like, everyone’s going to see this. I said that, knowing there are helicopters above me.
‘You know that moment is going to go global and if I don’t get cast because people or casting directors feel like it’s too much friction for what they’re trying to do…’
After a pause, he added: ‘It is what it is.’
John said he hopes that Red, White, and Blue will continue the conservation about systemic racism and police brutality that the Black Lives Matter movement sparked.
The actor also added that people asked him if they filmed the latest Small Axe movie after the protests, but explained that they had finished filming ‘this time last year’.
He continued: ‘That’s why you don’t have to have some strategist to tell you it won’t be timely to bring out a film about these matters.
‘It’s more of a shock that the world ain’t changing.’
Read the full feature in this week’s Radio Times, out now