John Boyega, the actor who followed up last week’s blistering attack on social media racism with a powerful speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in London, has won widespread praise for his actions.
Jordan Peele, Mark Hamill, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Brooker were among those applauding the star’s rousing address in Hyde Park.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega told his fellow demonstrators. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.
“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.”
Boyega, who came in for some criticism for his explicit language in an Instagram Live video on the same subject last week, said: “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.”
Fighting back tears, he continued: “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.
“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 and that isn’t the case any more, that was never the case any more.”
“Lucasfilm stands with John Boyega and his message that now is the time. Black lives have always mattered,” it read. “Black lives have always been important. Black lives have always meant something. The evil that is racism must stop. We will commit to being part of the change that is long overdue in the world. John Boyega, you are our hero.”
Boyega and other actors from the latest trilogy in the series – most notably Kelly Marie Tran – have been subjected to relentless racist attack from people purporting to be fans of the sci-fi franchise.
Other film industry names supporting Boyega included Jordan Peele, director of Get Out, who wrote: “We got you, John.” JJ Abrams, Edgar Wright, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Brooker were among those affirming their continued desire to work with Boyega.