Diversity star and Britain’s Got Talent judge Ashley Banjo has spoken out following the furore over his controversial Black Lives Matter dance during last weekend’s semi-final.
The routine, which portrayed the death of George Floyd in America, led to 15,500 complaints to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.
The passionate performance, which was accused of taking a political stance during a family entertainment show, is now the second most complained about TV moment of the decade, reports the Manchester Evening News.
In a video addressing the controversy Ashley says he has received racial abuse and threats.
But the 31-year-old choreographer maintains he is proud of the performance and says the Saturday night talent show was the right platform.
He shared a video on social media with the caption ‘Feeling nothing but proud and positive.’
He said it had been a ‘crazy week,’ adding: “Firstly, I want to say thank you, for all the people who have supported what me and Diversity did with our performance,” he said.
“Honestly, it is overwhelming the positive reaction to what we did. Hundreds of thousands of messages, comments DMs and interactions in the street.”
Despite the thousands of complaints made to Ofcom he stands by the powerful routine.
He explained: “A lot of negativity has been thrown at the performance, but trust me, I am right in the centre of it and the negativity is the minority.
“The positive response has been huge, so thank you so much to everyone who has supported, shown love and stood by what we did. We are feeling positive, proud, happy, confident and we stand by every single decision that we made with that performance.”
Ashley said he was honoured to be back on the BGT stage with 2009 winners Diversity.
He added: “If I am honest with you, to be able to stand on that very stage that launched Diversity into the limelight, as a judge on the panel, standing up for something we believe in, using our art to spark a nationwide conversation – what more could I ask for as a creative, as an artist? that is it.”
On the negativity received he said ‘there’s been a lot.’ “Everything from racial abuse to threats, to just some really nasty stuff,” he explained.
“I am not going to give it any more time than it deserves, a lot of the nastiness and the racism shows exactly why this performance was needed and exactly why this conversation that is now arisen from it is necessary.
“It’s been tough but still, like I said, standing strong feeling so happy that we opened it up.
“If that’s what it takes that’s the price I’m absolutely willing to pay.”
He said the routine was designed to round-up an extraordinary year including Covid-19, lockdown, the NHS and the spotlight on racism with the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
“Hindsight 2020 – that is what the performance was about,” he said.
“It was something we wanted to bring to the stage to give people hope, not to shy away from the difficult conversations.”
And he says BGT was the right place as ‘a stage for so many incredible performances and for artists to explore emotions and stories.’