Star Wars actor John Boyega took to the streets of London Wednesday to march for Black lives, and the actor gave an electrifying speech to protesters in the city’s Hyde Park area.
During his speech, he also questioned whether he’ll “have a career” after his participation, highlighting an issue Black people face when they stand up for racism: fear that they’ll be retaliated against.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega said to protesters Wednesday, overwhelmed with emotion as he spoke into a bullhorn to amplify his message. “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,” he continued, naming the several Black Americans who’ve been killed at the hands of police and other citizens.
“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,” he added.
At one point, Boyega acknowledged the potential professional backlash that he could face for openly fighting against racism and police brutality.
“Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f-ck that,” he said.
But Boyega doesn’t have anything to worry about. Several Hollywood heavyweights responded to his uncertainty by making it clear that they still were willing to work with him after speaking out, including some Star Wars co-stars along with Oscar winners Jordan Peele and Matthew Cherry.
The Star Wars franchise and its parent company Disney also stood by his actions and tweeted a message of support, calling him a true “hero.”
Disney is also putting its money where its mouth is by pledging $5 million to non-profits that are focused on social justice. They are beginning with a $2 million donation to the NAACP.