Home UK Showbiz Ashley Banjo reveals he has been subjected to ‘racial abuse and threats’...

Ashley Banjo reveals he has been subjected to ‘racial abuse and threats’ since Diversity’s BLM dance

The BGT winners' performance has received a record number of complaints since the dance routine aired

SHARE
ITV

Ashley Banjo has revealed that he has been subjected to “racial abuse and threats” following Diversity’s Black Lives Matter inspired dance routine.

The Britain’s Got Talent winners returned to perform at the semi-final of the talent show last weekend, where they choreographed a dance inspired by the movement and the killing of George Floyd.

Since the performance, media watchdog Offcom has received over 15,000 complaints – with the dance troop’s frontman Ashley addressing the controversy in an IGTV on Sunday.

“It’s been a lot, everything from racial abuse to threats, to just some really nasty stuff…I’m not going to give light to it, I’m not going to give it any more time than it deserves,” he said.

“But a lot of the negativity, the nastiness, and the racism shows exactly why these performances and exactly why this conversation that has arisen is so necessary.

“Racism is very real, I’ve known it before and I definitely know it now,” he continued.

Ashley began the video by thanking his fans for their support: “I want to say thank you to all the people who are supportive of me and Diversity’s performance, who’ve reached out.

“Honestly it’s overwhelming the positive reaction to what we did. Hundreds of thousands of messages, comments, DMs and interactions in the street.”

“There’s been what 15-16,000 complaints of negativity thrown back at the performance, but trust me I’m right in the centre of it and the negativity is in the minority.

“The positive response has been huge so thank you so much everyone who has supported and shown love, stood by what we did.

“Everyone who reached out who checked if we were alright, thank you to you as well,” he added.

“We are good though, we are feeling positive, proud, happy confident and we stand by every single decision that we made for that performance.”

“If I’m honest with you to be able to stand on the very stage that launched Diversity into the limelight as a judge on the panel, standing up for something, using our art to spark nationwide conversation, what more could I ask for as a creative and an artist?

“To entertain, to get people talking, to cause emotion, that is everything I could have asked for so I am proud and like I said I stand by it so thank you to everyone showing their positivity.

Ashley admitted it’s been hard to stay positive following the backlash: “After this performance everything that we’ve seen, I don’t know, it’s been overwhelmingly negative sometimes, which is tough.

“But still, like I said, [I’m] standing strong and feeling so happy with what we’ve done, if that’s what it takes that’s a price I’m absolutely willing to pay.”

Ashley admitted that the routine was intended on being a “summary of 2020”, tackling topics like COVID-19, George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It was layered, it was something we wanted to bring to the stage to bring hope but also not to shy away from difficult conversations and difficult issues that have arisen.

“That’s exactly why the question whether Britain’s Got Talent was the right platform was one that I just can’t get on board with.

“If an artist or creative can’t use real world issues, universal issues, to inspire their art and come through how they express them then what’s the point?” he asked.

View this post on Instagram

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. My truth, my platform, my art. I’ve always tried to create not only to entertain but also to inspire… That will never change. ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’ – Martin Luther King Jr I’m so grateful and overwhelmed by all of the love and support but also by the amount of conversation this performance has thrown up ???????? 2020 has been such a historical year. One day we will look back and realise it was the start of real change… Sending out nothing but love and positivity to everyone reading this post ???? #wearediversity

A post shared by Ashley Banjo (@ashleybanjogram) on

“Britain’s Got Talent has been a stage for so many incredible performers, artists and talents who want to express all different kinds of emotions and views, and stories, human ones.

“Of course political ideas are going to work into performances because it affects us every single day, universal things that affect us, that is what art is; it’s an expression of how we feel and this set of 2020 is exactly that.

“The bit that was really seemed to connect with people and agitate, annoy and offend people was the fact that we stood up and said that racism is real and as far as we’re concerned it has to change so that we’re tolerant because Black Lives Matter.”

“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 one set of people with a statement.

“Black Lives Matter is a fact. It is and always will be a fact. That’s what I stand by that’s what every single one of my team proudly standby and that’s why we included it in our summary of 2020.

“I’m so glad that this performance has almost ignited the spark of that conversation to be continued again,” he added.

“The fact that it was a medium like a dance and it was on a show like Britain’s Got Talent in the mainstream is so important.”

Diversity's Powerful BLM Routine On 'BGT' Has Earned Over 15,000 Complaints From Viewers
ITV

“Families, schools, homes, friends are now having this conversation about something that is very real and affects so many people.

“I’m proud, I’m happy and like I said I want to say thank you to everyone who supported us. I don’t want this conversation to end.”

On this week’s episode of Goss Chats, Goss.ie CEO Ali Ryan chats with award-winning makeup artist and MRS Glam creator, Michelle Regazolli Stone.

The celebrity MUA opens up about the ups and downs of living through the pandemic, and how her makeup range saved her.

#GossChats is sponsored by top Irish aesthetic clinic Haus of JeJuve.