On Wednesday (June 3), John Boyega delivered an emotional and powerful speech to thousands at London’s Hyde Park, where people were marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters in the United States.
“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,” he began before breaking into tears as he spoke about the shared black experience.
“Every black person here remembers the time when another person reminded you that you were black,” the Star Wars actor said. “I need you to understand how painful this sh*t is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case anymore.”
He went on to list a few of the countless black individuals who were murdered by police, saying, “We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence, for Mark Duggan.
From there, John delivered targeted message to Black men, telling the crowd, “Black men, we need to take care of our black women. They are our hearts! They are our future! We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family…. it starts with you. … We have to be better!”
“I’m speaking to you from my heart,” he added. “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f**k that.”
John also made it a point to tell the crowd that their fight is one that has to continue: “We don’t leave here and stop. …”
“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process. 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,” he concluded.
At another point during the protest, John addressed the crowd and spoke of his appreciation for their support.
“Thank you for coming out today, thank you for being here to show your support,” he said as the crowd chanted “justice now” behind him. “Black people I love you, I appreciate you, today is an important day. We are fighting for our rights, we are fighting for our ability to live in freedom, we are fighting for our ability to achieve….today you guys are a visible representation of that.”