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Ending 'The Clone Wars'

A black Star Wars junkie searches for diversity in a galaxy far, far away.

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A couple of minutes into the midnight opening screening of Star Wars: The Clone WarsinCincinnati this month, I took a moment to survey the other members of the audience.

The four or five dozen people occupying the theatre came from all over the geek spectrum, from the hopelessly anti-social to the more lovable (like Eric Foreman from That '70s Show) who managed to bring dates along. I think I even spotted a few of the sophisticated geeks of the Tina Fey variety.

 

I could only spot one other black guy in the theatre that night, though.

 

Luke Skywalker may live in a galaxy where the color of your lightsaber matters more than the color of your skin, but I don't. Growing up in the '90s in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, Ohio, my peers made it clear that Star Wars wasn't one of the things that black kids were "supposed" to enjoy.

 

Still, despite the thin showing of black fans at the recent Clone Wars screening, as more minority characters populate George Lucas' imaginary universe, more African Americans are acknowledging an affinity for Star Wars.

 

Rappers like MF Doom, the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop group Jedi Mind Trick aren't shy about the occasional reference to the Force in their albums. Gnarls Barkley even donned Star Wars costumes for their performance of "Crazy" at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards. Aaron McGruder—the man behind the nationally syndicated comic strip "The Boondocks" and the TV show by the same name—has become a true poster boy of black fandom.