LONDON: Speaking directly from the heart, actor John Boyega gave an impassioned speech at a protest against the custodial killing of George Floyd in the US.
The "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" star on Wednesday joined thousands of protestors gathered at Hyde Park for the Black Live Matter protest.
"I'm speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don't know if I'm going to have a career after this, but f**k that," Boyega said.
"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," he added.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in an encounter caught on video.
The officer, Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter.
In his speech, Boyega said Floyd was not the first victim of police brutality as he named a number of people who lost their lives in such attacks.
"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 said.
Fighting back tears, Boyega went on to say, "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're going to make sure that won't be an alien thought to our young ones."
"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 was never the case anymore," he added.
At the same time, the actor urged his fellow protestors to remain calm and refrain from being violent so as to not "mess up".
"It is very, very important that we keep control of this moment. That we make this as peaceful and as organized as possible. Because they want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganized, but not today," Boyega said.
The actor's speech has gone viral on social media, earning him praise from all quarters, including Lucasfilm that produces his "Star Wars" movies.
In a brief statement, posted on the company's website, the production house said it "stands with John Boyega" and his message.
"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," the Disney-owned company added.