John Boyega is once again out here proving that you don’t need some space-force magic or a legendary origin story to make a real difference. The actor showed some real Jedi-like behavior in London’s Hyde Park Wednesday as he rallied anti-police-brutality protestors, calling out systemic racism and uplifting the community. “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that,” he began, exercising his post-Disney right to say whatever he wants. As he spoke, hundreds of peaceful protestors cheered him on.
“I need you to understand how painful this shit is,” he said with tears in his throat. “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 was never the case anymore. 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, for Mark Duggan.”
“Black people, I love you,” he added. “I appreciate you. Today is an important day. We’re fighting for our rights. We’re fighting for our ability to live in freedom. We’re fighting for our ability to achieve.” As he spoke, the actor gathered more and more emotion and envisioned a future full of families “that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings.” “That’s what we need to create,” he declared, calling out black men specifically. “We need to take care our black women,” he pounded his chest. “They are our hearts. They are our future.”
The actor is often forced to speak out against racism in the Star Wars community and has been vocal with his fans about his zero tolerance for racism policy. Frankly, a not-racist actor who can deliver a speech like that sounds like someone worth keeping in the business.
Update, June 4 at 11:00 a.m.: The cosmic forces have spoken: John Boyega can keep his job. Both Lucasfilm and legend Mark Hamill spoke out in support of the actor after clips of his speech went viral. “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,’” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “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.”
Space papa Mark Hamill tweeted his love for his space son. “Never been more proud of you, John,” he signed it with a red heart and “dad.” A certain space mom would probably be proud, too.