Star Wars actor John Boyega, who plays Finn in the Star Wars franchise, gave an incredible off-screen performance Wednesday.
The actor was one of the many celebrities who joined global protests of police brutality against black people, following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was killed while in police custody after one officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder, while three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were fired and charged with aiding and abetting a second-degree murder.
Boyega participated in a London protest at Hyde Park, where he delivered an inspiring and emotional speech.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega, who was born in the city, said in part. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
“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. I ain’t waiting,” @johnboyega just told #BlackLivesMatter protesters in London’s Hyde Park pic.twitter.com/P49cbwIp6P— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 3, 2020
Boyega struggled to speak at times because of the importance of what he had to say.
"Every black person understands and realizes the first time you are reminded that you are black," Boyega added, occasionally stopping to fight back tears during the speech. "You remember. Every black person in here remembers when another person reminded you that you were black."
He encouraged people to make the moment “as peaceful as possible,” because, “they want us to mess up.”
Boyega also indirectly mentioned Star Wars. At one point he said, “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that.”
He needn’t have worried, because he quickly received support from the Star Wars team, who shared the full video of his speech.
However, many of the commenters on the Star Wars post called out the brand for not having had Boyega and his character’s back in the past.
but where were you when racists were in john boyega's mentions 🤔🤔🤔— val petrone! BLM (@heyvalpetrone) June 3, 2020
Thank you. We hope this means that in future you can acknowledge and address the racist and misogynistic harassment your actors face. It all matters.— Scavenger's Hoard (@ScavengersHoard) June 3, 2020
we didn't forget what you did to his lead character but you better open your purse and donate— ✧*:･ﾟ| ceo of anidala quotes ✿ (@padmesanckin) June 3, 2020
Actor and director Jordan Peele cheered Boyega on as well, saying, “We got you, John.”
And he got the ultimate endorsement from the last Jedi himself, Mark Hamill:
Boyega’s last Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, is expected to be his final one for the franchise.
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