Steve McQueen felt "tremendous pain" after hearing about George Floyd.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

The '12 Years a Slave' filmmaker admits Floyd's death has "mentally, physically, spiritually" chipped away at him, but he is hopeful after seeing people of all races come together to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Speaking at Esquire’s virtual event, Esquire Townhouse @ Your House with Breitling, he said: "Black people live in a state of extremes. When you’re looking at an image of someone being beaten by the police, by the law, by the establishment and not being reprimanded, not being pulled up on it, not being charged time and time and time again, it does something to you inside. Mentally, physically, spiritually, it chips at you and I have not seen the George Floyd tape, I’ve not seen it actually, yet – I say yet if I ever see it I’m not too sure if I will, I don’t know. Other things I have. It’s the fact that, the pain that these things bring is tremendous, it’s not light. Even if you feel it doesn’t do anything to you, it is doing something to you. This is not a light thing. The joy? Pffft, the fact that people have been getting out on the streets, Black and white people getting on the street is great, but let’s see where we get to."

And Steve wants to see "real change" after what happened to Floyd.

He added: "A man had to die with someone’s knee on his neck for over nine minutes, there had to be a global pandemic, there had to be millions of people marching on the street all over the world for people to think, ‘Hmm maybe there’s something wrong here.’ If I have to do a somersault about a stamp on a Royal Mail envelope? I’m sorry, we want real change. I’m not interested in some kind of symbolic gesture."

Steve is pleased to see "huge amounts of progress" but he insists it's "not good enough".

Asked if he feels things are better for the Black community this year, he said: "To some extent absolutely. I mean there’s been huge amounts of progress, but it’s not good enough … There’s a certain level you get to and then there’s a situation where there’s a barrier."

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