Ashley Banjo defends Diversity’s BLM routine after sparking 3,000 complaints

Ashley Banjo defends Diversity’s BLM routine after sparking 3,000 Ofcom complaints

Ashley Banjo has defended Diversity’s powerful “Black Lives Matter” routine after it sparked 2,966 complaints from Britain’s Got Talent viewers.

The choreographer shared press clippings from the aftermath of the performance, which referenced police brutality and racial injustice in America.

He began by typing the definition of art, before explaining the purpose behind his craft.

Ashley Banjo makes no apologies for Diversity's BLM routine
Ashley Banjo makes no apologies for Diversity’s BLM routine. Credit: Rex Features

Ashley Banjo wrote: 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.

His brother Jordan and group mate Perri Kiely had his back
His brother Jordan and group mate Perri Kiely had his back

He then quoted civil rights activist Martin Luther King to highlight the importance of speaking up for what you believe in.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter – Martin Luther King Jr, shared the dancer.

And he went on to thank those who supported his vision and the message within his work.

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He said: 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 realize it was the start of real change.

The star followed it up by sharing a post from trolls urging himself and other prominent black celebrities like Anthony Joshua and Lewis Hamilton to focus on their careers.

Speaking directly to his critics, he wrote: 1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public.
2. The silence was never and will never be an option.
3. Change is inevitable. Get used to it.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom was inundated with complaints about Saturday night’s routine.

Ashley Banjo led the dance troupe for the raw performance which included him being knelt on by a police officer.

But 2,966 viewers have so far taken grievance with what some called a political stance on the ITV show.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom said yesterday: We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.

Ashley Banjo, who was a judge at the weekend in place of the injured Simon Cowell, opened the performance by reciting a viral poem The Great Realisation by the singer Tomfoolery which is about the BLM movement and police brutality.

The group narrated the death of George Floyd who died on May 25 after U.S. police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

After the performance, Ashley Banjo said: This performance is extremely special to me and the rest of Diversity. 2020 has been an incredible moment in history for both positive and negative reasons.

We wanted to use the platform we’ve been given to make our voices heard, express how the events of this year have made us feel, and think about how we might look back on them in the future. We call it hindsight 2020.

The performance was received with mixed reactions by social media users with some breaking down in tears and others tweeting their fury.

One said: Just catching up on BGT. In floods of tears after the amazing performance by Diversity. It was so powerful, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, how much pain and suffering can we all experience this year.

Another said: Wow @Diversity_Tweet, as per usual, had me in tears at the sheer talent and the message. Well done.

But Twitter user Paul Crichton slammed the politicization of the show, which featured Ant and Dec, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams, and Amanda Holden, saying it shouldn’t use a talent show to make a political statement.

And Joanne O’Malley said she was sick to death of Black lives Matter being rammed down our throats.

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