Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey lead celebrity reaction to Derek Chauvin verdict
Beyonce welcomed a “good day” and Oprah Winfrey said she cried tears of joy as Hollywood reacted to a guilty verdict in the case of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted of killing George Floyd.
Chauvin, 45, pinned Floyd, 46, to the ground with his knee in Minneapolis last May.
The incident was caught on camera and the harrowing video triggered a racial justice movement across the US that quickly spread to the rest of the world.
Following a high-profile trial, Chauvin was on Tuesday found guilty on all charges – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
US president Joe Biden welcomed the verdict, while Beyonce and Winfrey, two of the most prominent black women in America, led the response from Hollywood.
In a statement shared on her website alongside a childhood picture of Floyd sleeping in his mother’s arms, Beyonce said: “After too many years of misguided justice, today is a good day.
“I encourage all of us to continue to pray for George Floyd’s family and for all the families who seek justice for their loved ones who are victims of too many years of inequalities.”
Winfrey said she was brought to tears when the verdict was read.
She wrote on Instagram: “Relieved—and emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I’m grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies.”
Winfrey said she was “grateful to Darnella Frazier”, the teenager who filmed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd.
She added: “Grateful to every Juror for seeing and acknowledging what the world saw on that tape. Thank you God for real! #GeorgeFloyd.”
Chart-topping singer Mariah Carey tweeted “Hallelujah!!!!!!!!” in response to the news, before adding: “A beginning.. a small grain of hope for our future.”
Chris Evans, an actor best known for playing Captain America in the Marvel films, said: “Justice. Sending love to George Floyd’s family and friends.”
Scandal actor Kerry Washington wrote: “A guilty #verdict. But this fight for justice is not over. We have a lot of work to do. There is more fight ahead of us. But RIGHT NOW please take CARE of yourself. And let’s take care of each other. Prayers and love to the family of #GeorgeFloyd.”
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis shared a painting of Floyd and said: “GUILTY!!!! As it should be!! Now….Rest In Peace George Floyd. Rest. You and your family have been vindicated.”
Barack and Michelle Obama issued a statement welcoming the verdict, but warning America’s problem with race was far from solved.
They said: “True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognise that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last.
“And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.”
Euphoria actress Zendaya posted a picture of Floyd to her Instagram, while prolific TV producer Shonda Rhimes tweeted “justice is truth.”
Singer Justin Timberlake said the verdict represented “the first step in a long line of injustice against the Black community, often with no consequences”.
He added: “The work is not nearly done. While there are many more families waiting for justice, my heart is with George Floyd’s family right now.”
British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton also shared his reaction, describing the verdict as “monumental”.
He added: “But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. Since George’s death, so many other Black people have died at the hands of the police and we must ensure the momentum of today continues. The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done.”
Pop star Mandy Moore also said she was praying for Floyd’s family. She tweeted: “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Thank god. Thank you to the jurors for doing their job and helping to enact some semblance of justice in this case.”
Hawaii Five-0 actor Daniel Dae Kim, who has been widely praised for his work condemning a spike in violence against the Asian community in the US, said: “Today is a day we will all remember. Prayers for George Floyd and his family.”
Poet Amanda Gorman, who rose to international attention following her address during Joe Biden’s inauguration, said: “A reminder that victory would be George Floyd being alive. Every day Black Americans worry if they will be next is another day without justice.”