Ashley Banjo: Controversy over Diversity routine shows why it needed to happen

Brenda Watkins
September 15, 2020

Ashley Banjo walked out onto the Britain's Got Talent stage to the tune of Elton John's I'm Still Standing this weekend - after receiving over 15,000 complaints through Ofcom for Diversity's recent Black Lives Matter performance. "I knew it before and I definitely know it now", said the presenter. The negativity is the minority.

The four minute performance told the story of 2020 including everything from online shopping to the emergence of coronavirus, race riots in the United States and clap for our carers in the UK.

"George Floyd was a black man in America who died when a white police officer put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. a moment that horrified the world".

Ofcom has received more than 15,000 complaints over the dance, which took place on an episode of Britain's Got Talent.

It was hailed as powerful by the audience, but sparked more than 10,000 complaints from many who thought it was too much politics for an entertainment show.

She said: 'It is extraordinary.

The routine led to the second highest number of complaints to Ofcom for a TV show since 2010, after 25,327 were made in 2018 about Celebrity Big Brother when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas.

The performance also addressed the coronavirus, capitalism, and the growth of delivery services like Amazon.

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"It was layered", he said on Instagram.

"What hasn't been highlighted is that we were inundated with overwhelming, positive responses - hundreds of thousands of them".

In a seven minute clip posted to Instagram, Banjo said though the majority of the feedback he'd had was positive, he had also received negativity, including threats and racial abuse.

"Racism is very real".

He said, "But we also got bombarded with messages and articles of awful stuff about us, about our families, about how even now Diversity not diverse enough because there are only five white people in it". "If an artist and a creative can't use real-world human issues - like universal issues - to inspire their art and to come through in how they express, then what's the point?" he said.

The dance troupe returned to the Britain's Got Talent stage during Saturday's semi-final show.

"We are all about being positive and loving, from which we got so much positivity and love".

Now, a lot of people were offended at the political nature of that statement but that's never what we intended. "Black lives mattered long before it was anything political or affiliated with any one set of people".

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