John Boyega delivered a powerful message to protesters in London on Wednesday. The Star Wars actor’s passionate speech left him in tears at times as he called for countries nationwide to fight for black people’s lives and dignity. “Black lives have always mattered,” he said. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
“Look, I don't know if I'm going to have a career after this,” Boyega added. “But fuck that.”
Boyega’s emotion is palpable throughout his speech, which comes as many celebrities have joined protests across the globe. On Tuesday Keke Palmer urged National Guardsmen to march in solidarity with protesters. Other celebrities who have joined demonstrations include Tessa Thompson, Ariana Grande, and Jamie Foxx.
“Every black person in here remembers when another person reminded you that you were black,” Boyega said. His voice broke as he told the crowd, “I need you to understand how painful this shit is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing.”
“That isn’t the case anymore,” Boyega said. “That is never the case anymore... 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.”
Boyega also encouraged the protesters to remain “as peaceful and organized as possible, because you know they want us to mess up.”
As he closed his speech, Boyega noted that this effort will not end after the protest is over. “Today is the day that we remind [our children] that we are dedicated—and this is a lifelong dedication,” Boyega said. “Guys, we don't leave here and stop. This is longevity... We can all join together to make this a better world. We can all join together to make this special. We can all join together.”