Star Wars actor John Boyega has made an emotional speech in London’s Hyde Park over the death of George Floyd.
The film star, 28, told fellow demonstrators gathered for a Black Lives Matter protest he was “speaking to you from my heart”.
The British actor referenced two other black Americans who controversially died in the US, as well as the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in London in 1993.
He said: “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.”
Ms Bland died aged 28 while in police custody in Texas following a traffic stop, while Mr Martin was shot and killed, aged 17, by a neighbourhood watch volunteer in Florida, with both deaths sparking protests across the US at the time.
He added: “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.
“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.
A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on Jun 2, 2020 at 4:30am PDT
“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 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.
“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 are our hearts, they are our future, we cannot demonise our own, we are the pillars of the family.
“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, and that’s what we need to create.
“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.
“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.”
Boyega previously said he did not want to “work in fear” when in the US, as he addressed the unrest in an Instagram post.
Mr Floyd’s death, after he was restrained by a police officer kneeling on his neck, has sparked rioting and protests across the US after footage of his arrest was shared.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who said in the Commons on Wednesday that Mr Floyd’s death was “inexcusable” – has faced calls to review sales of riot control equipment to the US.