"Black lives have always mattered," Star Wars actor John Boyega said in a powerful anti-racism speech during a Black Lives Matter rally in London on Wednesday, June 4.
"We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain't waiting. I ain't waiting,” Boyega told the crowd of thousands at Hyde Park.
The protest comes in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25. Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer suffocated him with his knee. Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the world, demanding an end to racial discrimination and social injustice.
"Every black person understands and realises the first time you are reminded that you are black," Boyega said, intermittently pausing to fight back tears.
"You remember. Every black person in here remembers when another person reminded you that you were black."
At one point during his speech, Boyega declared: "I don't know if I'm going to have a career after this but, [...] that."
However, once the comment made its rounds online, a number of celebrities took to social media to voice their support for the actor.
"We got you, John," Jordan Peele, who won an Oscar in 2018 for his thriller Get Out, tweeted.
Another Academy Award-winning filmmaker Mathew A Cherry, who won the 2019 Oscar for his animated short film, Hair Love, wrote that he "would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well."
Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker wrote that he would crawl through "a barrel of broken glass to have John Boyega even so much as glance at one of my scripts."
Boyega's Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill said that he has never been more proud of him, concluding his tweet with a heart-shaped emoji.
The official Star Wars twitter account also sent out a message of solidarity: "We stand with and support you, John Boyega."