Stars back John Boyega after Black Lives Matter protest

Stars including JK Rowling and Jordan Peele have praised John Boyega for his emotional speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London on Wednesday.

“Black lives have always mattered,” said the Star Wars actor. “We have always been important. We have always succeeded regardless.”

He paid tribute to African-American George Floyd, who died in police custody on 25 May – but said his comments could damage his career.

Instead, Hollywood offered its support.

“We got you, John,” said Peele , the Oscar-winning director of Get Out.

“Happy to work with you any time, John,” said Harry Potter author JK Rowling , whose third Fantastic Beasts film is currently in pre-production. She tweeted applause emojis in response to his speech.

Boyega, who was born in London to parents of Nigerian descent, observed: “I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this.”

Film maker Matthew A Cherry, who won an Oscar this year for animated short film Hair Love – about an African-American father styling his daughter’s hair for the first time, added his support.

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A tearful Boyega, who starred as Finn in the latest Star Wars trilogy, made his comments while addressing demonstrators in London’s Hyde Park.

“I’m speaking to you from my heart,” said the 28-year-old through a megaphone.

“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process,” he continued

‘Don’t hold back’

“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.

“Black lives have always mattered, we have always been important, we have always meant something and we have always succeeded, regardless.

“And now is the time, and I ain’t waiting.”

Booksmart actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde was among the first to reply to Boyega’s speech, saying : “Absolutely. I would be honoured to work with John Boyega and can only hope to have the chance. We’ve got your back, John. Don’t hold back.”

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