The star made an emotional speech in a megaphone as thousands of people passed through Hyde Park, marching in solidarity with protesters in the United States.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega said at the rally. “We have always been important. We have always wanted to say something. We have always succeeded independently. And now is the time. I am not waiting. I am not waiting.”
“Every black person understands and realizes the first time they are reminded that they are black,” Boyega added, occasionally stopping to fight tears during the speech. “You remember. Every black person here remembers when someone else reminded you that you were black.”
The British-Nigerian actor listed the names of several black men killed by the police in the United States, as well as those of Stephen Lawrence, a British black teenager killed in a racially motivated attack in 1993, and Mark Duggan, whose shooting in 2011 Police sparked protests and then riots across the UK.
“This is so vital,” said Boyega. “I need you to understand how painful this shit is.”
“It is very, very important that we maintain control of this movement and make it as peaceful as possible,” he added. “They want us to be wrong.”
And then he specifically addressed black men, urging them to “take care of our black women.”