Are Black police officers—who, within the context of the United States and the United Kingdom, work in an inherently racist police force that functions within an equally racist criminal justice system—traitors?
Some say that the answer to this question isn’t black and white.
“It’s not that simple. There are officers in [the police force] that are Black, that do have good intentions. But this [film, Red, White and Blue] is about them having to navigate a space where their intentions can’t even be actualized because the system won’t even support them,” John Boyega told The Root.
The actor and activist believes it’s important to understand that every Black police officer has a nuanced individual story. Boyega explores the question of Black officers in racist policing systems, among others, in his powerful performance as Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue—a film that is among Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology. The series of five feature-length films focus on the struggle for Black power and liberation in the United Kingdom during the 1970s and 1980s.
Logan is the best and the brightest in his class; as the adage goes, Black people must be twice as good to go half as far. Some might call Boyega’s character naive in that he wants to change the system “from the inside out,” (even after his father is assaulted by the police). But Boyega—in real life—is an activist, with an unwavering voice and an undeniable love for Blackness, grounded in the sobering reality that racism is real.
Red, White and Blue will be available Dec. 4 on Amazon Prime Video.