John Boyega fights against police brutality in Small Axe trailer

John Boyega leads the charge against racism and police brutality in the powerful trailer for Steve McQueen’s anticipated new series Small Axe. 

The anthology series will consist of five films each following the trials and tribulations of the West Indian community in London between the 1960s and 1980s. 

Made up of both fact and fiction, the stories will be told in episodes titled: Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Education, Alex Wheatle and Red, White and Blue. 

During Boyega’s film Red, White and Blue, the actor portrays the real life Leroy Logan, a young forensic scientist with a yearning to do more than his solitary laboratory work. When he witnesses his father being assaulted by two policemen, Logan is compelled to become a police officer fulfilling a childhood dream. 

However, his naive hope of wanting to change racist attitudes from within clash with his father’s disapproval and the blatant racism he faces in his role despite excelling in the force. 

In the trailer, Boyega is seen going head-to-head with a colleague while overcome with emotion in another scene. 

Featuring clips from all episodes, the teaser opens inside a West Indian restaurant kitchen before showing scenes of dancing at a party and a black child during a school lesson, all while soundtracked to Janet Kay’s classic hit Silly Games.

‘These are new types of human beings,’ a female voiceover says. ‘They are not demoralised but defeated persons. They are leaders but are rooted deep among those they lead… As a collective, we stand a chance.’ 

Boyega’s character interjects: ‘Don’t you think it’s time things were different.’ 

However, the scenes become more intense as it shows a Black Lives Matter-style protest and black people coming up against the police. 

Mangrove will tell the true story of the Mangrove 9 and the trial that took place at the Old Bailey in 1970. The episode will star Black Panther actress Letitia Wright, Jack Lowden from The Long Song and Shaun Parkes from Lost In Space. 

Lovers Rock is a fictional story of young love and music at a blues party in the early 1980s. Blue Story and Top Boy actor Micheal Ward will take the lead alongside Amarah-Jae St Aubyn who makes her screen debut in the film. 

McQueen is best known for 12 Years A Slave, for which he won best picture at the Oscars. 

Small Axe will debut on BBC One in November. 

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