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Leslye Headland and Amandla Stenberg Face Backlash in Star Wars

Leslye Headland and Amandla Stenberg Face Backlash in Star Wars

Leslye Headland is the first openly queer person to lead a live-action Star Wars project. She promised strong LGBTQ+ representation in her series, “The Acolyte,” and chose Amandla Stenberg, who is nonbinary and gay, for the lead role.

Despite these efforts, the project has faced a lot of criticism. Elon Musk, the Tesla founder, accused the franchise of pushing “woke” ideas. He even mocked Headland on social media, comparing her to the Death Star.

While Headland faced criticism, Amandla Stenberg dealt with intense racism from some Star Wars fans. She responded by posting a music video on Instagram. However, negative comments about her performance and the show continued.

One user, @ksadmusic, wrote, “I am black and a #StarWars fan. I have tried to be positive about #TheAcolyte but I am not a fan. The story is not good and your performance doesn’t help. So now that I say I don’t like your show, does that make me racist? All my black friends agree.”

This is not the first time black actors in Star Wars have faced racism. In 2015, John Boyega, who played Finn in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” faced a lot of racial abuse. He talked about it and even criticized Disney in a GQ Magazine interview. “You get yourself involved in projects, and you’re not necessarily going to like everything,” Boyega said.

In 2022, Moses Ingram, who played a villain in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” also faced racist comments online. After she said there was nothing anyone could do about it, the official Star Wars Twitter account posted, “If anyone intends to make her feel unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.”

The experiences of Headland, Stenberg, Boyega, and Ingram show ongoing issues within the Star Wars fan community. These incidents raise important questions about diversity, representation, and the backlash against progressive changes in popular franchises.


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