The Untold Truth Of John Boyega

John Boyega is an award-winning actor and producer. Many fans know him best as the character Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy flicks - The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker in (2019). This led the British-Nigerian star to add his voice to video games like Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and theme park attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (via IMDb).

He has also appeared in films and television shows including Pacific Rim: Uprising and 24: Live Another Day. But how many people knew that his real name is John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega? How many are familiar with his advocacy efforts? Who all knew that he had some super cool body art or that his father was an ordained minister? These are just a few of the surprising and interesting facts about Boyega, so keep reading to find out some more!

John Boyega's first role was as a leopard

John Boyega was born in 1992 in London. While in elementary school, he got his first taste of acting by portraying a leopard in a school play! This took place at the Oliver Goldsmith Primary School where he was discovered by Teresa Early of Theatre Peckham. He received education and experience at the learning theater, as well as at the South Thames College, the University of Greenwich, and the Identity School of Acting in London in his later years (via PeoplePill).

His father, Samson Adegboyega, wanted him to become a minister, as Boyega's father was a Pentecostal minister, according to Sorted Magazine. Playing a leopard, though, led to many other great opportunities, a shining career in Hollywood, and a very special moment for this family. 

In January 2020, Boyega took to his Instagram to share a video of himself surprising his parents by buying them a new house, leaving them speechless and in tears. In the two-minute clip, he told them, "It's a small token, but I just thought it's best that you live in an environment and place where you're happy and you have space and privacy."

John Boyega is an activist

Another intriguing fact about this actor is his activism. Specifically, as The Independent reported, he has spoken out about the deaths of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Stephen Lawrence. He has also been involved in multiple Black Lives Matter rallies.

But his outspoken nature doesn't stop there. John Boyega has openly criticized Disney, the company who owns the Star Wars franchise, for how they have handled race in the sci-fi series. In September 2020, he spoke with British GQ about how the brand sidelined his character, Finn, noting that Disney should "not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side".

"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," Boyega explained. "Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs...Nobody else had that experience...That's my frustration."

One of John Boyega's childhood friends was murdered

At a young age, one of John Boyega's childhood friends was murdered, according to The Mirror. Damilola Taylor was killed in London, England in November 2000 at the age of 10 by brothers Danny and Ricky Preddie who were 12 and 13 respectively at the time. Prior to his murder, Damilola was last seen with John and his sister Grace Byoega "They wanted to escort him home, but he said he was going to be okay," said Damilola's father Richard Taylor. "They left him by the junction, then he went around the corner, and the gang were waiting for him."

The Preddie brothers stabbed Damilola with a broken glass bottle, The Mirror reported. The child was found bleeding in a stairwell nearly 100 feet away from the crime scene in an attempt to find help. 

John nominated the Damilola Taylor Trust as one of the 15 causes to split a donation of £1.35 million ($1.9 million) from Star Wars: Force for Change initiative which Richard said filled him with joy. "There's good coming out of the place," he said. "John's promoting Peckham, not denying his roots. Damilola would have been doing the same thing."

John Boyega failed at hiding his chest tattoo from his mom

In May 2020, Boyega revealed on Twitter that he had a chest tattoo, and apparently he was hiding it from his mother Abigail Boyega for a really long time! "My mum said Adedayo. Call me," he tweeted. Shortly after, he added, "Nah why am I hearing that Jumanji drumming!" He mentioned the "talking to" he got and noted his mom asking him if he was trying to be like David Beckham

He later responded to a fan, by writing, "David Beckham tatts are a no no for a Christian Nigerian mum with tribal marks bro."

In the midst of the hilarious drama, there was an even funnier plot twist. His sister Grace Boyega shared that she was planning on getting some permanent ink as well! 

Along with a sinking golf cart gif, John jokingly tweeted, "Me and my sister right now it was nice knowing you all. Have a good night. I actually gotta handle this byeeee!"

John Boyega was once a stock photo model

Like many college students, John Boyega needed to earn some extra income, so the attractive actor turned to stock photography modeling. Yes, as stated by the New York Daily News, Boyega was in a few Getty Images, specifically, in a collection titled "Further Education" that was discovered on a career services' advertisement at the University of Nebraska. 

Steve Smith, News Director of UNL University Communications, stated that they used stock photos regularly and the one featuring Boyega was at least five years old.

"It was fairly common at the time for university departments to use stock photos," Smith explained to Omaha World-Herald in October 2019. "Though I'm fairly certain we didn't know at the time that one of those smiling faces would eventually become a 'big deal' in the Resistance."

Oh, and what did Boyega do with the money he earned from the unique modeling gig? He bought himself some Air Force 1s, which reportedly only lasted him three years. Since the International Business Times reported that this actor is now worth $6 million, he can probably afford as many pairs of sneakers as he would like!