John Boyega is the star of new film Detroit, has appeared on stage in the West End and has been rapidly rising to fame over the past few years but most of us know him best as Finn from the latest installments of the ongoing Star Wars saga, a child friendly space-opera that is now owned by Disney studios.
Star Wars fans are known for being fiercely loyal of the saga and protective of their favored actors but it appears that Boyega has angered a few recently by...err...dancing. For those not in the know, every year, London hosts the Notting Hill Carnival which is an annual event that has taken place in the city since 1966 and celebrates the culture and vibrancy of British West Indian culture. It attracts around one million people annually, making it one of the world's largest street festivals, and a significant event in Black British culture.
A three-day event, this year it took place from the 26th August to the 28th and the actor managed to take a break from his busy shooting schedule to make his way down to the festivities and a few fans caught him on camera dancing and enjoying his time off but this is where the controversy arose.
A dancer at the event, clad in traditional headdress and bikini spotted the star and started whining on him, Boyega, obviously enjoying himself, dances along. 'Whining' has a rich tradition in the Caribbean culture and it originated during the 18th Century at the Jamette carnivals of Trinidad and Tobago. A full contact dance it is a thrusting or rotating of the pelvic girdle in a rhythmic pattern and is a full contact dance, as such many feel it has very obvious sexual connotations.
John Boyega himself was born in London to Nigerian parents and his family is known for honoring traditions such as the one seen at this carnival but that didn't stop some people online calling the video of Boyega's dancing inappropriate considering he is the star of a franchise predominantly aimed at children. One fan spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the incident saying,
"John is free to have fun any way he wants. But he is a public character, and in my opinion, should take care of what he puts in his social networks. I think he has to preserve the legacy of the most important film saga ever. When I saw the images, I thought of the millions of children that follow John and how they would interpret those images."
When criticized on Twitter for his actions, Boyega seemed unfazed replying to many tweets about his 'responsibility' he fired back by tweeting out "oh shoosh. My responsibility is to myself. Go sit down jor." but this did not stop people taking umbrage with his actions.
One user tweeted at him, "It's not funny. Can you imagine strong females like Padme, Leia or Rey in a similar situation? I can't." but John seemed to take it in his stride and maintained a sense of humor against the backlash by responding with "Yep! Rey would back it up!!!!! Wooooooiiiiiii!" There has been no comment, as of yet, from Rey actor Daisy Ridley if her character would indeed 'back it up.'
Others were more supportive of Boyega's actions and joined in with the tongue in cheek comments with one user tweeting at him, "Proud of John for holding that whine like a champ!!! Yes!!" whilst others seemed more upset that he wasn't dancing with them with one going so far as to tweet, "I'm unnecessarily jealous because I'm hearing @JohnBoyega was at Carnival and really was securing whines... like he's not MY man.."
What are your thoughts on the incident, should Boyega be more careful about his public actions or should he be left to do as he pleases? Is 'whining' inappropriate for public display or is it just a traditional dance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.