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Dear John Boyega…

First off, so very many congratulations for your role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I doubt that any of us can be as happy as you are about your casting, but most of us are ecstatic that you are more than just a one-off or a token in the Star Wars universe. Since being cast as Finn you have been rendered, effectively, immortal and omnipresent. You will be in films, made into toys, on posters and trading cards, possibly even comic books, we will be able to play you in video games, your face will be emblazoned on novels… you will be everywhere, for a very long time. Unless something happens where all media is destroyed, you will be famous for the rest of your life. And probably for some time after. Congratulations. I cannot imagine how heady a feeling this must be for you.

I remember, four years ago, being told about a little film called Attack the Block. My cousin, who lives in London, called me and said, “Yo, fam. You will not believe this film. It will be your favorite, cousin.”

When I saw it, it was. It continues to be one of my favorites. To see a film that completely shitted on the Spielbergian notion that a story about kids having adventures, or encountering extraterrestrials, has to happen in a white middle-class context of pseudo-innocence was refreshing. You and your boys handled dem tings and humanized life in the hood, and this had a lot to do with you.

As Moses, you commanded the screen with such charisma, charm, menace, and vulnerability that all of the folks I was with agreed that you were destined for stardom. And here it is. Your star is ascendant. And you’ve been handling it like a seasoned pro. Your stint on 24 also let us see just how assured you are in your acting.

You’ve been nothing but classy in how you’ve dealt with the racialized abuse hurled your way. From what I’ve seen (from the videos you’ve posted) and read in magazines, nothing has dulled your joy. You’ve been able to stay above it and remain focused. I truly hope that you can continue this, and I hope that not succumbing to the bullshit doesn’t become too heavy or burdensome. You are happy and successful. And it is killing your detractors. Well done, fam. Keep it up.

I hope that you do not feel the need to carry the “burden of the race” on your shoulders. No one should ever have to do that. You can do nothing but fail from that position because there will be folks who will hang all of their hopes and dreams on you. If you don’t deliver what they want, the crabs will yank you down into a very deep barrel. Leave that to the academics and the Black orthodoxy. I hope that you recognize that your only responsibility is to yourself, your craft, and to the project. But please, if they try to Jar Jar you, I hope you call up your people, tool up, and slay those gorillawolfmotherfuckers.

$6.5 million in early IMAX ticket sales alone. Black children dressing up as Finn for Halloween. Racist idiots boo-hooing on their New Hope bedsheets. Your infectious joy.

John Boyega in Star Wars? Allow it.

Congratulations, fam. You’ve earned it.


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