The dark side of the Star Wars fandom once again resurfaced earlier this year as grown adult men couldn’t deal with not liking a fantasy movie, instead taking to social media to harass Kelly Marie Tran, the first woman of color to have a prominent leading role in a Star Wars film.
These people didn’t like KMT’s character of Rose, which is fine. But they couldn’t separate fiction from reality, instead hurling racist comments at the actress. Eventually, she left social media altogether – something that Daisy Ridley had previously done.
Today, Kelly Marie Tran broke her silence with an absolutely terrific response in the New York Times. In a must-read piece, she begins,
It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them.
Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.
She then details events in her life that led her to feel ashamed of her Asian heritage, of her body, of her worth as a person. But she turns that into her realization that her real shame comes from looking at the culture she was born into that feeds that kind of thinking. She concludes the piece by writing,
You might know me as Kelly.
I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a “Star Wars” movie.
I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair.
My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.
I highly encourage you to check out the piece, to read it and reflect on it. Hopefully it serves as a wake-up call to those who need to hear it most. As we love talking about Star Wars, it seems obvious but it must be said: not liking something about a movie is one thing, but using that to harass the actress is incredibly inappropriate.
I thought Kelly Marie Tran was terrific in The Last Jedi, but this response is even better. I can’t wait to see her reprise the role of Rose once again in Episode IX, which comes out next year.