Star Wars and Pacific Rim actor John Boyega joined protestors in London’s Hyde Park where he delivered a speech that he believes could threaten his acting career.
The speech was captured by Britian’s The Evening Star, which you can see below.
Boyega begins saying, “First of all, I want to thank every single one of you for coming out. This is very important. This is very vital. Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless.”
He continued, “And now is the time. I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting. I have been born in this country. I am 28-years-old. Born and raised in London…Every black person understands and realizes the first time you were reminded you were black. You remember, every black person in here, remembered when another person reminded you that you were black.”
Boyega then addressed people “protesting on the other side.” He stated, “So none of you out there. All those protestors on the other side. Protesting against what we want to do. Protesting against what we want to try and achieve. Burn you. Because this is so vital.”
Boyega then gets visibly emotional saying, “I need you guys to understand. 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 anymore. That is never the case anymore.”
“We are going to try today. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation for our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation on our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence. For Mark Duggan,” Boyega stated.
Boyega then called for the protests to remain peaceful, “It is very, very important that we keep control of this moment and that we make this as peaceful as possible. We make this as peaceful and organized as peaceful. They want us to mess up. They want us to be disorganized. But not today. Not today. Not today.”
Boyega then breaks down in tears while stating his next words are specifically for black men, “This message is specifically for black men. Black men…Black men. Black men we need to take care of our black women. We need to take care of them. They are ours. They are our hearts. They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family.”
He continued, “Imagine this. A nation that is setup with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings. And that’s what we need to create. Black men it starts with you.”
Boyega added, “We have to be better. Do you not understand? I am speaking to you from the heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this. But f*** that.”
“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 are going to make sure that that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones,” Boyega stated.
He continued, “I’m sure you lot came today and you left your kids. And when you see your kids there aimlessly playing, they don’t understand what’s going on. Today, is the day that we remind them that we are dedicated and that is a life long dedication.”
He then concluded, “We don’t leave here and stop, you know. We don’t leave here and stop. This is longevity. Some of you are artists, some of you are bankers, some of you are lawyers, some of you own shop stores, you are important. Your individual power, your individual right is very, very important. We can all join together to make this a better world. We can all join together to make this special.”
The official Star Wars twitter account would fully endorse Boyega’s speech. They wrote, “We stand with and support you, John Boyega.
They also included a photo of Boyega using a bullhorn along with a second photo of a message that reads, “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.”
They added, “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.”
— Star Wars (@starwars) June 3, 2020
The statement from Star Wars didn’t sit well with a number of fans. Rooster Teeth producer and YouTuber Alanah Pearce wrote, “You didn’t f***ing stand with him when The Force Awakens poster released in China.”
She then shared the Chinese and English versions of The Force Awakens poster. The Chinese version minimized Boyega’s Finn character.
You didn’t fucking stand with him when the The Force Awakens poster released in China. pic.twitter.com/bofHLJkCtc
— Alanah #BlackLivesMatter (@Charalanahzard) June 3, 2020
Here’s a closer look at the English version where you can see Boyega’s Finn wielding a blue lightsaber to the right of Rey.
In the Chinese version, Boyega’s Finn is moved below Han Solo and placed next to BB-8 in a much less prominent position.
Others criticized Lucasfilm’s treatment of Boyega’s Finn in The Rise of Skywalker.
considering what y’all did with his character in tros something’s not adding up with this statement
— steph ⚯͛ 📚 (@stephragnarok) June 3, 2020
imma say this rn, if y’all really think i made this comment to be petty bc i just didn’t like his storyline you clearly didn’t notice that finn being sidelined was in large parts thanks to the constant racist comments directed at john and the dislike geared at him by sw fans
— steph ⚯͛ 📚 (@stephragnarok) June 4, 2020
What do you make of Boyega’s comments? What about Star Wars and Lucasfilm’s response?