Movies and books are some of the things I love. When I was a kid, I used to catch the bus and go to Seminary South to the General Cinema theater to watch movies. It was the coolest thing to me and these movies had an impact on how I saw the world. Most of the movies I saw had men leads, and most of which were Anglo.
When the first Star Wars movie debuted in 1977, I was too young to ride the bus by myself. But I fell in love with the Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and was excited that Billy Dee Williams was one of the cast. As an actor is was good to see someone who looked like me in a popular film that was good to boot. It gave hope that African American actors would not be typecast as the bad guys, the stupid guys or “you don’t have a purpose” guys.
I don’t have adequate words to explain my feelings as I watched the recent installment of the Star Wars franchise. I was like, “Wow!”
As I sat in the movie theater 38 years after the first movie, I can see a difference in who we are as story tellers. As a country we have grown some and it is nice to see it reflected in a major franchise movie. It is nice to see actors who look like me get roles that might have been cast other ways.
I love that one of the main characters was African American and another was female. The story-line had nothing to do with their race or gender, it allowed two actors to do what they do best. ACT. Yet their presence spoke volumes. It takes Star Wars to whole new level with me. It was a great movie experience. We have truly come a long way.