“When you fly a lot and it happens three of four times there’s an element of, ‘Okay, I’m still not a terrorist’,” the actor says of his pre-‘Star Wars’ days.
Thanks to a galaxy far, far away, there can’t be many out there who don’t recognize the face of John Boyega.
But this wasn’t quite the case prior to the British actor’s Star Wars days, something that, together with his Nigerian heritage, he says saw him stopped numerous times while traveling to the U.S.
“I used to fly back and forth when I was hustling and auditioning for things in L.A.,” he told London’s Evening Standard newspaper. “I’d get cheap flights and stay there for two weeks or whatever. And every time I was getting these random checks. Every. Single. Time.”
While Boyega says he can’t remember the airline in question, he says he was told that the problem actually lay with the authorities in the U.S.
“They gave me a letter and it stopped. But before that it was consistent,” he said. “I understand that [these things] are for our safety, but when you fly a lot and it happens three of four times there’s an element of, ‘Okay, I’m still not a terrorist’.”
Boyega isn’t the first non-white British actor to discuss his treatment at airports. In an essay last year, fellow recent Star Wars recruit Riz Ahmed described how he’s most often “typecast as a terrorist” at security checks.
“Although my U.S. airport experience is smoother, I still get stopped before boarding a place at Heathrow every time I fly to the U.S.,” he wrote.