As stateside protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in the United States, Black people scattered across the diaspora are feeling the pain. Having also experienced their own strand of racism — anti-Blackness is a global and intergenerational phenomenon — similar demonstrations are popping up across the world. In the United Kingdom, Star Wars actor John Boyega is leading the charge for solidarity.
Upon hearing about the brutal killing of George Floyd last week, Boyega shared his devastation and fury over the pervasiveness of racism in society. He began talking openly about his disgust towards racists on social media, passionately taking down the trolls attempting to silence him. The British actor has always spoken up for what he believes in — he went viral earlier this year for openly criticising the Star Wars franchise — but for obvious reasons, he’s going even harder for Black Lives Matter.
“I really fucking hate racists,” Boyega tweeted last week, his post garnering over two million likes and the ire of many white people who somehow felt attacked by the statement.
Over the course of the past few days, Boyega continued amplifying the cause, sharing graphics about safe protesting tips as well as information about BLM protests that would be taking place in the UK in solidarity. On Wednesday, Boyega attended one of gatherings in Hyde Park aimed at speaking out against the killing of Floyd as well as protesting the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga. The actor was given time to address the crowd, and he shared an emotional speech.
John Boyega at BLM protests in London. The pain in his voice. pic.twitter.com/915r2t8YNd— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) June 3, 2020
“Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting,” @johnboyega just told #BlackLivesMatter protesters in London’s Hyde Park pic.twitter.com/P49cbwIp6P— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 3, 2020
“I’m speaking to you from my heart,” said Boyega through a megaphone. “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.”
“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process,” he told the crowd. ” We don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones.”
“Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
Boyega’s rallying speech was marked with tears, and his emotions were matched by those who came across the plea online. Even with many Star Wars fans decrying his choice to speak out, the actor won’t have to worry about not being able to find work in the industry — creators like Matthew A. Cherry (Hair Love), Charlton Brooker (Black Mirror), Tracy Y. Oliver (Girls Trip, Awkward Black Girl), and LaToya Morgan (Walking Dead, Shameless) have already expressed their intentions to keep him booked and busy long after the protests.
I would crawl through a barrel of broken glass to have John Boyega even so much as *glance* at one of my scripts. https://t.co/0bcLeldaEg— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) June 3, 2020
Hey @JohnBoyega I would love to work with you and would hire you in a heartbeat. You don’t have to worry. We got you!! Keep going!— LaToya Morgan (@MorganicInk) June 3, 2020
“Hey @JohnBoyega I would love to work with you and would hire you in a heartbeat,” tweeted Morgan. “You don’t have to worry. We got you!! Keep going!”
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