'Now is the time': John Boyega speaks at Black Lives Matter march in London

'We have always been important,' the 'Star Wars' actor says during a gathering at Hyde Park

Rappler.com

Published: 5:13 PM June 4, 2020

Updated: 5:24 PM June 4, 2020

STANDING UP. British actor John Boyega speaks to protestors in Parliament square during an anti-racism demonstration in London, on June 3, 2020, after George Floyd, an unarmed black man died after a police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest in Minneapolis, USA. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Star Wars actor John Boyega is the latest celebrity to lend his voice to the Black Lives Matter movement after African-American George Floyd died in the hands of police in the US.

Speaking at a rally in Hyde Park, London on Wednesday, June 3, the British actor, whose parents are of Nigerian descent, said that the movement and string of protests not just in the US but worldwide, are vital.

"Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important, we have always met suffering, we have always succeeded, regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting," he said.

Boyega turned emotional and said: "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." 

"Black men, black men, we need to take care of our black women. We need to care of them. They are us. They are us. They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family."

The actor later said he was not sure if he was still going to have a career after his speech, but said he did not care anymore. Boyega had been vocal on social media as he reflected on his own place in the struggle. 

"The death of George Floyd has made me realize its not enough to be passively non-racist. The only way is to be actively anti-racist or I’m making no difference," he said on June 1.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on Jun 1, 2020 at 12:33am PDT

His Star Wars family rallied behind him, announcing that they were supporting him all the way. They also tweeted a link to a video Boyega's speech. 

"Lucasfilm stands with John Boyega and his message that, 'Now is the time. Black lives have always mattered. 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," said the company. 

We stand with and support you, @JohnBoyega. View his full speech: https://t.co/Goxb5y2wrK pic.twitter.com/ZvE0t5tRPY — Star Wars (@starwars) June 3, 2020

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, also tweeted his support. "Never been more proud of you, John."

Never been more proud of you, John. @JohnBoyega , dad https://t.co/XcXvBcblPG — Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 3, 2020

Rian Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, tweeted: "Love this man."

Love this man https://t.co/Rb4gXaJDDy — Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 3, 2020

Director Jordan Peele, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producer Chris Miller have also rallied behind Boyega. 

Yup! — Christopher Miller (@chrizmillr) June 3, 2020

I would crawl through a barrel of broken glass to have John Boyega even so much as *glance* at one of my scripts. https://t.co/0bcLeldaEg — Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) June 3, 2020

Oh god I WISH, Ojalá! From Attack The Block to this day! pic.twitter.com/sB7eJqF0sy — Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 3, 2020

We got you, John. https://t.co/oX7Rr52omx — Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) June 3, 2020

Jamie Foxx, Ariana Grande, Michael B Jordan, and Halsey are among the stars whove joined protests in the US to support the Black Lives Matter movement and express outrage over Floyd's murder. 

Prosecutors in Minnesota on Thursday, June 4 (Wednesday, June 3 in the US), announced the filing of charges against the 4 policemen involved in Floyd's death. – Rappler.com