John Boyega delivered an impassioned speech at the Black Lives Matter demonstration in London’s Hyde Park as he joined a group of celebrity supporters at the 15,000 person-strong protest on Wednesday afternoon.
The Star Wars actor, 28, spoke out against the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, and said he ‘doesn’t know’ if he’ll still have a career after making his views known and ‘speaking from the heart’.
A number of famous faces gathered in solidarity with similar protests and marches taking place across the U.S., including singer Dua Lipa and her model boyfriend Anwar Hadid, as well as musician Liam Payne and actress Billie Piper.
Speech: John Boyega, 28, delivered an impassioned speech at the Hyde Park protest over the killing of George Floyd, admitting he ‘doesn’t know’ if he’ll have a career after it
Protest: Dua Lipa, 24, and boyfriend Anwar Hadid, 20, were among the 15,000 strong crowd, which was in solidarity with similar protests and marches taking place across the US
Dua, 24, who wore a studded face mask to protect herself amid the coronavirus pandemic, held up a sign saying ‘Who’s policing the police?’ as she and boyfriend Anwar, 20, joined the 15,000 strong crowd.
John said during his emotive speech: ‘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.
‘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*** that.’
Support: Liam Payne, 26, also attended the protest alongside his girlfriend Maya Henry, 19
Family: Billie Piper attended the Black Lives Matter protest alongside her son Eugene, eight
Making a stand: Dua held up a huge sign which read: ‘Who’s policing the police?’
He went on: ‘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 s**t 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 any more, that was never the case any more.’
He urged protesters to remain peaceful as they demonstrated over the death of Mr Floyd.
‘It is very, very important that we keep control of this moment. That we make this as peaceful and as organised as possible,’ he said.
United: The singer walked as the 15,000 strong crowd made their way through Hyde Park
Overwhelming: At one point, Dua rested her head on Anwar’s shoulder as the couple looked around at the thousands of protestors
Showing her support: Dua was helped over a fence by a pal during the protest
Merging into the crowd: The singer cut a low-key figure in all black and donned a studded face mask to protect herself during the coronavirus pandemic
In the capital: Anwar and Dua have been staying in London during lockdown
‘Because they want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganised, but not today.
‘This message is specifically for black men, black men we need to take care of our black women. They’re ours. They are our future.
‘We cannot demonise our own. We are the pillars of the family.
Laid back: Liam kept a low profile, donning a large pair of sunglasses
Showing support: The former Doctor Who star was also joined by two other friends as she attended the protest
Love: Billie wrapped an arm around her son Eugene as she made her way to the park
Group: The actress stood next to another group of protesters who were all carrying signs
Powerful: In his speech John referenced the killings of unarmed black people in America as well as the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in London in 1993
Emotive: He said: ‘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*** that’
‘Imagine this, a nation that is set up 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.’
‘Black men, it starts with you. It’s done man, we can’t be trash no more. We have to be better.
‘You lot came today, you left your kids, and when you see your kids they’re aimlessly playing, they don’t understand what’s going on.
‘Today’s the day that we remind them that we are dedicated and this is a lifelong dedication.
Emotion: During his speech, John said: ‘Black men, we need to take care of our black women. We need to take care of them. They’re ours. They are our future’
He also said: ‘Imagine this, a nation that is set up 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’
‘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.’
Crowds gathered in central London at 1pm for the protest with many carrying signs and chanting: ‘no justice, no peace’.
Most of the protesters wore gloves and masks and also chanted ‘black lives matter’ and ‘we will not be silent’.
A further demonstration by Black Lives Matter is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday in Parliament Square.
John said: ‘I need you to understand how painful this s**t 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 any more, that was never the case any more’
Important: In his speech, John said: ‘Some of you are artists, some of you are bankers, some of you are lawyers, some of you own shop stores’
He added: ‘You are important, your individual power, your individual right is very, very important, we can all join together to make this a better world’
George Floyd, 46, an African-American man, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His death has sparked days of demonstrations across the nation over police brutality against African-Americans.
The Minneapolis policeman accused of killing Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was taken into custody Friday and charged with third-degree murder, officials said.
While he attended the protest, Liam Payne, 26, also took to social media to make his voice heard.
The singer used his platform to tell his followers: ‘It’s not enough to just say that Black Lives Matter: all of us can and must do more in order to make that statement a reality as soon as possible.
‘Let’s make this ‘new normal’ after Coronavirus one in which Black people are not persecuted for living their daily lives in the same way everyone else is privileged to do so.’
Crowds: Most of the protesters wore gloves and masks and also chanted ‘black lives matter’ and ‘we will not be silent’
Friend: John looked emotional as he spoke to another protester at the demonstration
Demonstration: Crowds gathered in central London at 1pm for the protest with many carrying signs and chanting: ‘no justice, no peace’
After suggesting ways for people to make a difference, he added: ‘Let me be very clear, injustice comes in many forms around the world: nobody because of race, gender, sexuality, religion or belief, should suffer discrimination.
‘This gives us pause for thought to be better people, and to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve.
‘My condolences to George Floyd’s family and to the many others who have lost loved ones in these tragic circumstance. Again Black Lives Matter. Stay safe and take care.’
Along with John, Liam and Billie, other stars who attended the protest included singer Jessie Ware and Made In Chelsea’s Lucy Watson.
The demonstration in Hyde Park comes after John took to his Twitter last Wednesday to post, ‘I f**king hate racists,’ to his account – which is followed by 1.6 million users.
‘This just burns,’ he tweeted. ‘Seems to be a never ending cycle. The murderers need to be charged severely. Even in the face of death this man was given zero empathy.’
Couple: Liam held hands with his girlfriend Maya as the pair made their way towards the protest
Post: Liam shared a clip from where he stood at the protest and captioned it: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’
Out and about: Liam and Maya were both dressed in all black for the demonstration
Getting political: Liam used his platform to speak out and condemn racism and injustice in all forms, and urge his followers to ‘be better people’
He also posted to Instagram – on which he is followed by a further 1.8 million – captioning it: ‘George Floyd. So heartbreaking to hear about the continuous cycle of violence aimed at black people by racist cops.
‘Murder charges only. First post where I’ve had to turn off comments. Ain’t none of you getting the last word today. That’s that.’
He then took to Instagram Live to stand by his views.
Speaking to the 2200 people tuned in, he said: ‘So I’ll say it again – f**k you racist white people. I said what I said. And if you don’t like it, go suck a d**k, seriously!
‘Any racist s**t – that’s a straight up block, that’s fine, ready, I don’t need you on my page!
‘If you are a fan of me and support my work and are racist, and arguing with what I was saying, f**k off, you f**king dickheads. Straight up like that, that’s how it’s gonna go!’
Outfit: The actress wore a printed top with light blue jeans and a large scarf for the day
Peaceful: Singer Jessie Ware revealed she also attended the protest as she shared a snap from Hyde Park
Good cause: Made In Chelsea star Lucy Watson attended the demonstration holding a sign that read: ‘Silence is compliance’
He added: ‘Throughout my whole career as an actor, I want to let you guys know this: I am not the guy, I am not Hollywood, I never ever left the UK to go and live in LA.
‘I am from London, I am from here, we have different f**king rules! We are real, we speak truth. I am also African, so stop taking the p**s!’
Despite turning off the comments on Instagram, his tweets garnered an unfavourable reaction from many, claiming he is an icon to many young fans, and that his use of language wasn’t necessary.
Others questioned his use of the term ‘hate’, while some challenged him about the term ‘racist’.
Furious: John previously took to his various social media platforms to express his thoughts about the troubling death of George Floyd
One follower from Nigeria informed him that he had split up with his girlfriend for saying that she ‘hates whites’, to which John replied: ‘I am talking about WHITE on BLACK racism. The kind that has ruined the world not caused a lil break up with your girlfriend.’
Another posted, ‘Ouch man, racism can come from anyone’, to which John bit back with: ‘I don’t care. That’s not what I’m talking about.’
He went on: ‘Are you guys on twitter dedicated to seeing what’s in your head and not what I wrote? Take a break because you’re one of them. As I said you can’t force me to talk about what I’m not talking about. Shut up.’
Troubling: A number of celebs were outraged over the death of George Floyd (pictured) after a police officer drove his knee into the back of his neck, rendering him unable to breathe
He added: ‘I am being specific to a topic. I am not talking about any other way. Given what is happening right now. So the wise thing for you to do is defo shut up. Do it well too my G.’
When another commented about impressionable followers he might have, he said, ‘I am not here for the kids’, before adding, ‘I said what I said. Speak for yourself at all times x’.
The next day, John shared with his Twitter followers that those who reported his remarks had not had their complaints upheld.
Turned off: Despite turning off the comments on Instagram, his tweets garnered an unfavourable reaction from many, claiming he is an icon to many young fans, and that his use of language wasn’t necessary
Hitting back: Others questioned his use of the term ‘hate’, while some challenged him about the term ‘racist’
He triumphantly posted the response from Twitter, which said they ‘did not find any violations’ with his tweets and ‘will not be taking further action’.
Posting this, John proudly captioned this: ‘Off to the shops. Does anyone want anything?’
Black Lives Matter, which was first founded in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman and was nationally recognized for its involvement in the Ferguson protests in 2014 has been galvanized once more following the death of Floyd.
Plans: A further demonstration by Black Lives Matter is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday in Parliament Square