The star made an emotional speech in a megaphone as thousands of people flocked to Hyde Park, marching in solidarity with protesters in the United States.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega told the demonstration. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I am not waiting. I am not waiting.”
“Every black person understands and realizes the first time you are reminded that you are black,” added Boyega, stopping occasionally to fight tears during the speech. “Remember. Every black person in here remembers when another person reminded you that you were black.”
The British-Nigerian actor listed the names of several black men killed by police in the United States, as well as those of Stephen Lawrence – a black English teenager assassinated in a racially motivated attack in 1993 – and Mark Duggan, the whose shot in 2011 the police sparked protests and then riots across the UK.
“This is so vital,” said Boyega. “I need you guys to understand how painful this shit is.”
“It is very, very important to keep control of this movement and make it as peaceful as possible,” he added. “They want us to make a mess.”
And he continued to specifically address black men, urging them to “take care of our black women”.