Since May 25, protests over the death of George Floyd have gone countrywide. By June, protests were happening in all 50 states of the union. But racial injustice isn't a problem confined to America's shores. It's an issue across the Western world, and it wasn't long before countries from Canada to France were marching in the streets as a sign of solidarity that Black Lives Matter everywhere. In London, there was a massive demonstration in front of Parliament, and actor John Boyega's anti-racist protest speech made headlines.
Boyega rose to fame in the United States for his role in the final Star Wars trilogy. His role as a Stormtrooper who finds himself by joining the Resistance was hailed as revolutionary. But certain racist parts of the fandom attempted to boycott the film over his presence. Boyega has been upfront in speaking out against racists, and in recent weeks has posted about the death of Floyd on social media.
His fans weren't surprised to see him join in the demonstrations in London. However, no one expected how fiery his speech would be or how much Hollywood would stand up following his impassioned pleas.
Here's his speech in full.
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.
Around the 3:30 mark, Boyega admits he is deeply aware speaking out could harm his career: "I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but, f*ck that."
It wasn't long before directors like Jordan Peele, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Matthew Cherry were stepping forward, with promises they would not let that happen.
Boyega's fellow Star Wars colleagues also tweeted their support.
The official Star Wars account also posted his speech in full.
Star Wars fans hope that Boyega's words will encourage the franchise to hire more diverse voices. Though the final Star Wars trilogy was praised for its diversity in front of the cameras, behind the scenes, critics have pointed out that the franchise is still run mainly by white creatives. With the franchise branching out from the Skywalker Saga on the big screen starting in 2022, and live-action Star Wars shows like The Mandalorian a hit for Disney+, this is a perfect opportunity for Lucasfilm to put hiring actions to its words. The future of the galaxy deserves it.