John Boyega, of Star Wars fame, has been protesting in London following the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Boyega gave a passionate speech through a megaphone to a crowd of thousands about being black and the universal experience for black people who remember the first time someone reminded them they were black.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega said, “Black lives have always been important, black lives have always meant something.”
Partway through his speech, he began to cry, reiterating to the crowd why marching against police brutality aimed toward black people was so important. He told the crowd that they were a physical representation of many people who have been murdered because of the color of their skin.
“This message is specifically for black men,” Boyega said, “Black men, we need to take care of our black women. They are our hearts, they are our future … we can’t be trash no more, we have to be better.”
When he broke down crying, members of the protest cheered him on with words of encouragement so he could finish his message.
“I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but f*** that!” Boyega said.
However, on social media Star Wars and LucasFilms came out in ardent support of Boyega and the value of black lives.
However, they had been notoriously silent as a barrage of hate came Boyega's way from racists unhappy with a black male protagonist in the latest run of Star Wars films. LucasFilms has come under fire for the past few years for not standing up for Boyega or Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in the latest films, by saying plainly that racism has no place in the world.
“John Boyega, you are our hero,” said the Twitter message.
But Boyega is standing up and saying what LucasFilms did not: That his life, and other black lives, are inherently important and valued.