John Boyega Fears Losing Career After Speaking Out, But Hollywood Rallies Around Him
Look I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but, fuck that.
That’s John Boyega speaking candidly and emotionally at a London Black Lives Matter rally (h/t The Nikki Diaries). The Star Wars and Attack the Block star added his voice and body to the countless voices and bodies protesting the widespread, systemic violence against Black bodies and voices at the hands of the police. His comments, delivered with pain and passion, are worth your time and digestion:
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. I ain’t waiting.
“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,” @johnboyega just told #BlackLivesMatter protesters in London’s Hyde Park pic.twitter.com/P49cbwIp6P
— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) June 3, 2020
And yet, Boyega knows he must qualify these statements with genuine concern that his career in show business, as rife with systemic racism as all other systems, might suffer from his speaking out. “I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but, fuck that.” Boyega makes it clear that the fight for Black lives is more important than any clout or perception hit that might come as a result from the fight, and it should be clear to all of us that the fact that he had to make such qualifications is a key component to how deeply these systems rot with racism.
Many of Boyega’s Hollywood peers immediately started responding with encouragement, kick-started by filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry. Folks who responded in kind included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jordan Peele, Mark Hamill, and many more. Check out some of these responses below:
I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well. https://t.co/SqXgmIS5aR
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 3, 2020
Any project. Any role he wants.
— Seth Grahame-Smith (@sethgs) June 3, 2020
Oh god I WISH, Ojalá! From Attack The Block to this day! pic.twitter.com/sB7eJqF0sy
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 3, 2020
— Christopher Miller (@chrizmillr) June 3, 2020
Oh, hell yes. Pretty please.
— Bill Lawrence (@VDOOZER) June 3, 2020
We got you, John. https://t.co/oX7Rr52omx
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) June 3, 2020
I would love to work w John Boyega https://t.co/zQTIP29SVR
— Cathy Yan (@CathyYan) June 3, 2020
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 3, 2020
UPDATE: The official Star Wars Twitter account has now publicly spoken in support of Boyega, including a link to his full speech.
— Star Wars (@starwars) June 3, 2020
If you want to get involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, here’s a place to start.
For more on Boyega, check out our Rise of Skywalker interview with him.