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Over 800 Black women and non-binary actors expressed support for “Romeo & Juliet” star Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in an open letter.

Amewudah-Rivers plays Juliet in a London West End production of “Romeo & Juliet” alongside British actor Tom Holland. The production is scheduled to run from May 11 through August 3.

“When news of Francesca Amewudah-Rivers’ casting in Jamie Lloyd’s production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ was announced so many people celebrated and welcomed this news,” the letter reads. “Many of us took to social media to shower our baby sis with love and congratulations – a huge deal for someone so young in their career. A huge rising talent.”

But British fans of the William Shakespeare tragedy are enraged that a Black actress is cast as Juliet.

Others expressed outrage that Amewudah-Rivers’ co-star Tom Holland has not supported her publicly.


Holland is best known as the longterm partner of Spider-Man costar Zendaya, who is biracial.

“The racist and misogynistic abuse directed at such a sweet soul has been too much to bear,” the letter continues. “For a casting announcement of a play to ignite such twisted ugly abuse is truly embarrassing for those so empty and barren in their own lives that they must meddle in hateful abuse.”
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“Romeo & Juliet” producer Jamie Lloyd Company issued a statement last week saying: “Following the announcement of our ‘Romeo & Juliet’ cast, there has been a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company. This must stop.”

Amewudah-Rivers attended Oxford University in England, where she studied music. In 2022, she starred in several episodes of the BBC Three TV series Bad Education, according to