By Rachel West.

John Boyega is getting candid as the September issue cover star for Men’s Health.

With three major projects in the works, the star is sharing how he’s using his platform to build not just a better version of himself, but to speak out for what he believes in. An unapologetic supporter of the Black Lives Matter movements, Boyega tells Men’s Health, “Our empowerment is not your demise.”

“Of course, there’s backlash. Seen and unseen,” he says of the criticism he’s received for being outspoken in not just his support, but his experience as a Black man. “It’s just how it goes. You’ll see who’s for you and who’s really not…. [But] this is who I am. I’m going to speak about what I believe in and make sure that whatever I do is aimed at supporting the people.”

Danny Kasirye for Men’s Health
Danny Kasirye for Men’s Health

John Boyega, Regé-Jean Page & More Share Their Experiences In New ‘THR’ Drama Actor Roundtable

When it comes to speaking honestly about his treatment as a Black man, Boyega says, “Any of us keeping our mouth shut at this point, it doesn’t really feel too comfortable. Because even if you’re British, [you’re] working in the States; the gun’s going to go off before your accent does.”

Boyega, 30, has previously spoken out about how he felt unsupported during his “Star Wars” days, especially when it came to racist treatment online. Now, the actor says that because he “brought this to the freaking forefront”, future people of colour cast in LucasFilm productions will get more support.

“At least the people going into it now, after my time, [they’re] cool. [Lucasfilm is] going to make sure you’re well supported and at least you [now] go through this franchise knowing that everybody is going to have [your] back. I’m glad I talked out everything at that time.”

Danny Kasirye for Men’s Health
Danny Kasirye for Men’s Health

John Boyega Was Surprised By Reaction To His ‘Star Wars’ Criticism: ‘Robert Pattinson Gets To Talk S— About His Films’

Though Boyega says he felt he had to say “yes” to every offer when he was starting out, which was “tiring,” he is now able to focus on the scripts that inspire a visceral reaction.

“I can visualize the film. The concept is clear; the intentions are clear,” he says of the projects he wants to do, like the upcoming “The Woman King” with Viola Davis. “I’m going through each page and wishing I could read it in five seconds.”

One project Boyega won’t be taking on despite rumours is a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“That’s not in the vision for me now. I want to do nuanced things…. I want to donate my services to original indie films that come with new, fresh ideas, because I know it’s real hard to top ‘Iron Man’ in that universe.”

The September 2022 issue of Men’s Health featuring John Boyega hits newsstands nationwide on August 9.


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Ellen Bullock