During his short life, Cameron Boyce was an advocate for greater diversity in Hollywood. He used his stature as a Disney Channel star to help open doors for actors that have traditionally been left out of the roles he was able to land.
As past reports noted, a passion for pushing civil rights was literally in his blood.
The Disney Channel actor passed away on Saturday after reportedly suffering a seizure in his sleep. While the death remains under investigation, there has been an outpouring of condolences and memories for the 20-year-old’s legacy in Hollywood, which included charitable work and advocacy.
Many reports have noted that Boyce was heavily involved in charitable causes, which included raising $30,000 to fund the construction of wells for drinking water in Swaziland. Boyce was also an active voice for diversity in Hollywood and the need for more roles for people of color.
As Teen Vogue noted, Cameron Boyce himself was biracial, with a mother of Jewish descent and a grandmother who was a well-known figure in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. His grandmother, Jo Ann Boyce, was part of a group known as “The Clinton 12,” who were the first black students to attend the south’s first integrated high school after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling ordered desegregation.
As the report noted, Cameron Boyce’s diversity was actually an asset in his own work, allowing him to land a number of roles.
“He’s been the son of Michelle Monaghan who is white, Salma Hayek who is Latinx, Wendy Raquel Robinson who is black, and Paula Patton who is biracial like him,” the report noted. “So it’s been a bit all over the board over the years.”
Just as his grandmother opened doors for black students, Boyce hoped to help create opportunities for diverse actors. Throughout his career, Cameron Boyce tried to use his voice to pave roads for others who may have traditionally been left out. As he said in the Teen Vogue interview, lead roles have often been hard to land for actors from diverse backgrounds.
“When it’s a lead [role], it’s very hard to come by. We sort of are working to change that,” Boyce said in the October 2017 interview. “That is something that is important to everyone of color, a minority. It’s very important for people not only see in Hollywood and feel represented but also sort of even the playing field a bit.”
Cameron Boyce on “Descendants,” Diversity in Hollywood, and Growing Up https://t.co/r9V6DBDajM— CreativeCred.it (@CreativeCred) October 21, 2017
Cameron Boyce added that advocates have “got to keep it going because Hollywood is still really, really white.”