Boxing star Anthony Joshua has angrily responded to dubious criticism of a speech he gave at a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in his hometown of Watford over the weekend.
Joshua read a speech in which he urged the crowd to vote with their wallets, and spend money at black-owned businesses as a way to continue the groundswell of support for the community.
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But when some cynically criticised the speech as being ‘anti-white’ Joshua, who was born in England to Nigerian parents, took to Twitter to stand by what he had said.
“If you think I’m a racist, go f*** yourself,” he wrote.
“If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead.
“I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of us personally investing seven figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.
“Shops aren’t the issue here. Before you talk s*** you better boycott racism.
“I said what I said and I will act to make change.”
Anthony Joshua stands by Black Lives Matter speech
The 30-year-old fighter had delivered an impassioned speech on behalf of a friend who was unable to attend the Watford rally.
In it, Joshua encouraged people to maintain pressure on police and government over the issue of police brutality, especially that perpetrated against the black community.
“We can no longer from today onward be proud, we can no longer remain silent on the senseless unlawful killing, sly racism of another human being based only on what? Their skin colour,” Joshua said.
“We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations just like today. So well done Watford, inject the vaccine.
“We must not use the demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting. We need to be united in nonviolent demonstrations.
“Show them where it hurts, abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.
“And that’s for all communities if you want to uplift yourselves, invest in your own businesses.
“We have to engage with the youth – I completely agree with that – and put an end to black youth gang culture.”