Ashley Banjo has thanked those who complained about Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-inspired performance on Britain’s Got Talent while accepting a Bafta TV Award, saying that they ‘showed why this moment was necessary’.
At the Bafta TV Awards 2021, Diversity’s dance won Virgin Media’s must-see moment, a category voted for by the public.
After going up against Lady Whistledown’s reveal in Bridgerton, Chantelle’s death in EastEnders, Gogglebox reactions to Boris Johnson, Nigella Lawson’s pronunciation of ‘mee-cro-wah-vay’ and Luke Skywalker’s arrival in The Mandalorian, Daisy May Cooper announced that Diversity had won the award.
As Ashley and Jordan Banjo took to the stage, they appeared emotional as Ashley recounted the ‘dark time’ following their performance on Britain’s Got Talent last year, which garnered high praise while also receiving thousands of Ofcom complaints.
The dance routine saw the group reflect upon the events of 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic and the global Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death,
In his Bafta acceptance speech, Ashley said that ‘this is so much more than just an award’.
‘Thank you to every single person that voted for us. It means so much,’ he said.
‘Thank you to everyone that stood by us, every phone call, text, comment, DM. You guys made a difference to what was a really dark time, being in the storm of 30,000 complaints. Just a torrent of racially-charged abuse, threats, all of it. It was a dark time, but that support made a difference.’
Ashley then expressed his gratitude towards those who complained about the routine for demonstrating exactly why it was needed.
‘In a way, I have to say thank you to the people that complained,’ he said.
‘Because you showed the truth. You showed exactly why this performance and this moment was necessary. But for all those people, just take a look – because this, as much as there are so many conversations and so much that needs to change, this is what change looks like.’
Ashley said that he felt ‘so proud to be standing here’, ending his speech by stating: ‘Let’s keep having those difficult conversations. Let’s keep standing up for what’s right regardless of the colour of our skin and we will achieve that equality.’
Ashley, who was a judge on Britain’s Got Talent at the time of Diversity’s performance in Simon Cowell’s absence, recently revealed that Elton John reached out to him about the powerful dance.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, he said: ‘He called me and we had a good chat, which was really nice. He was one person that just rang me from his landline, just to have a chat one afternoon. It was really needed, it was really nice to have that chat with him.’
The Bafta TV Awards is on BBC One and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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