Jordan Peele, Mark Hamill, JJ Abrams, and Olivia Wilde are among celebrities throwing their support behind actor John Boyega after he spoke during a Black Lives Matter protest in London’s Hyde Park Wednesday.
“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,” Boyega said to the crowd that had gathered around him. “I ain’t waiting.”
Boyega’s speech was made amid protests that have erupted around the world after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody last week. While only one officer, Derek Chauvin, initially faced charges after he pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, the remaining officers have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin’s third-degree murder charge was upgraded to second-degree murder.
“I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing,” Boyega said, while calling for maintaining “peaceful” and “organized” protests. “We are a visible representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a visible representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a visible representation of our support for Trayvon Martin.”
Boyega also issued a message directed at black men.
“Black men—black men, we need to take care of our black women. We need to take care of them,” he said. “They are our hearts. They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of our family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings. And that’s what we need to create. Black men, it starts with you.”
At one point, Boyega, who has also been speaking out candidly on social media, said: “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.”
A number of actors and directors took to Twitter to show their support of Boyega, with Jordan Peele stating, “We got you, John.” Matthew A. Cherry spoke out in solidarity, while calling on “non-black creators to affirm that they have his back as well.” Olivia Wilde was among those who retweeted Cherry, saying she would be “honored” to work with Boyega.
Boyega, perhaps best known for playing Finn in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, also received support from those affiliated with the franchise, including Mark Hamill, directors JJ Abrams, and Rian Johnson. The official Star Wars Twitter account chimed in as well, calling him a hero and noting that “Lucasfilm stands with John Boyega.”
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