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STAR WARS Fans Rally Behind Kelly Marie Tran with #FanArtForRose

STAR WARS Fans Rally Behind Kelly Marie Tran with #FanArtForRose

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, The New York Times published an op-ed authored by Kelly Marie Tran on the subject of her experiences with not only the past year’s worth of digital bullying following the release of The Last Jedi, but a lifetime of belittlement and disrespect from society at large.

As Tran says in the piece, “I had been brainwashed into believing that my existence was limited to the boundaries of another person’s approval. I had been tricked into thinking that my body was not my own, that I was beautiful only if someone else believed it, regardless of my own opinion. I had been told and retold this by everyone: by the media, by Hollywood, by companies that profited from my insecurities, manipulating me so that I would buy their clothes, their makeup, their shoes, in order to fill a void that was perpetuated by them in the first place.”

The essay concludes with Tran establishing a reborn sense of empowerment in her identity and control over her own destiny, and an encouragement for readers to recognize that they deserve the same. In light of the inspiring and touching piece, we’re shining a light on the contingent of Star Wars fans who used their creativity this summer to exercise support, respect, and love for Tran.

It’s been a difficult week in the world of Star Wars fandom. Following months of harassment from a vitriolic group of “fans,” actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, opted to delete all of her posts on Instagram. A number of sites fired out pieces about how hateful the Star Wars fandom has become. Even the normally congenial director of The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson, weighed in on the controversy:

That Johnson had such a passionate reaction to the episode seemed to indicate a change in weather for Star Wars fandom. But the truly beautiful thing about Star Wars fans that was underestimated this week is that despite moments of fleeting frustration, course-correction is always possible. The healthier side of Twitter banded together to wage a solution to the hatred spewed at Tran: They created the hashtag #FanArtForRose, which celebrates Rose Tico’s vital place in the galaxy far, far away.

Twitter artists far and wide shared their portraits of Rose, using the hashtag to bolster the positivity – and creativity – the fandom needs right now.

Even Johnson was swayed by all of the Rose love; when a Twitter fan alerted him to the hashtag, he responded enthusiastically, even changing his Twitter cover art to one of the renderings of the beloved character he created.

This hashtag, and the vocal support for Tran in the wake of so many months of hatred, is evidence of our own access to something quite like the Force. No matter what the Dark Side says, the truth is: “This is how we win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”

via GIPHY

We love you, Kelly. May the Force be with you.

Image: Lucasfilm / Disney

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