2021 TIME100 Next
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February 17, 2021 6:55 AM EST

The killing of George Floyd in May 2020 in Minneapolis ignited protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on almost every continent. In Australia, as demonstrations renewed attention to the racial inequality faced by Indigenous Australians, the actor and writer Meyne Wyatt delivered a searing monologue about the experience of living through systemic racism. The sharp lines, written by Wyatt for his play City of Gold, carried a strong message. “Seeing us as animals and not as people—that sh-t needs to stop,” he said. “Black deaths in custody—that sh-t needs to stop.”

His words went viral and immediately struck a nerve in the country, which has recorded more than 441 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991. “Watching this was very uncomfortable,” said one Twitter user. Others commented that the monologue made them cry. An Australian comedian dubbed it “the best two minutes of Australian TV ever,” and BuzzFeed even suggested it be taught in schools. Now Wyatt, who lives in Sydney, is directing his first short film, which he also wrote. He’s also working on a new play—commissioned by the Sydney Theatre Company—and writing an episode on an upcoming television series. —Amy Gunia

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