Hollywood is rallying behind Star Wars‘ John Boyega after his passionate protest speech

On June 3rd, Star Wars actor John Boyega gave a passionate speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London’s Hyde Park. But, by doing so, he knew that he was putting his career at risk. “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this,” he said toward the end of his speech, “but fuck that.” However, based on the response from Hollywood, including several prominent directors, it’s clear that they’re sending their support.

It’s a sad reality that speaking out about political or social issues can affect people’s careers. If you’re a Black person in an industry in which Black people are already underrepresented, the fear is even greater. So, to show solidarity with Boyega, Oscar-winning director Matthew A. Cherry called on filmmakers to speak up and promise that Boyega’s career will be just fine.

“I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well,” Cherry wrote.

In response, a number of directors and others in the entertainment industry have responded—either to Cherry’s prompt or otherwise—saying that they would be proud to work with Boyega.

Jordan Peele posted a link to Boyega’s speech and wrote, “We got you, John.” Olivia Wilde quoted Cherry’s tweet and wrote, “Absolutely. I would be honored to work with @JohnBoyega and can only hope to have the chance. We’ve got your back, John. Don’t hold back.” Elizabeth Banks wrote, “Would be honored.” Paul Feig tweeted, “My hand is up high. It would be an honor to work with John.” Lin-Manuel Miranda posted, “Oh god I WISH, Ojalá! From Attack The Block to this day!” And those are just a few of the filmmakers who are supporting Boyega.

In addition, Boyega’s Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill tweeted, “Never been more proud of you, John.” And The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson wrote, “Love this man” alongside a video of Boyega’s speech.

You can watch Boyega’s full speech in the Evening Standard’s video below.

In the speech, the 28-year-old speaks from his own experience as a Black Londoner. “Every Black person in here remembers a time another person reminded them they were Black,” he says. He also says the names of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Stephen Lawrence, an English teen who was killed in 1993.

“They want us to mess up. They want us to be disorganized,” he says, exciting the crowd. “But not today!”

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more