Dancer Ashley Banjo breaks silence over Diversity’s controversial BLM routine

Ashley Banjo has broken his silence following Diversity’s Black Lives Matter routine, after the performance sparked 15,500 complaints.

Diversity’s dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday, 5 September, saw the group carrying out a BLM inspired dance routine, which caused a split in viewer opinion.

Now, Ashley, 31, who is currently a judge on the Britain’s Got Talent panel, has addressed the response to the routine in a seven minute Instagram video, calling the positive discussion around the dance the “biggest gift ever.”

Ashley Banjo has spoken out about the 'racial abuse and threats' he's received following Diversity's controversial BLM routine
Ashley Banjo has spoken out about the ‘racial abuse and threats’ he’s received following Diversity’s controversial BLM routine
(Image: Instagram/ Ashley Banjo)

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He said: “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?

“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.”

Moving on to discuss the negative comments, Ashley said: “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.

“A lot of the negativity, nastiness and racism shows exactly why the performance was needed. Racism is very real, I’ve known it before and I definitely know it now.”

Ofcom complaints have doubled this week in response to Diversity's routine on Britain's Got Talent on Saturday night
Ofcom complaints have soared in response to Diversity’s routine
(Image: Instagram/Ashley Banjo)

Ashley continued to say that, after the performance, he’d received an overwhelming amount of negative comments but added that he’s still “standing strong.”

Despite the negativity, Ashley concluded that he’s “so happy” to have opened up the discussion with the routine, adding: “If that’s what it takes, then that’s a price that I’m absolutely willing to pay.”

The dancer then went on to discuss the performance itself, which saw choreography reference the tragic death of George Floyd, and the subsequent protests.

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Diversity have also had a very positive response to the routine
(Image: Instagram)

Ashley, who was recently defended by Peter Andre, described the performance as “a round-up of an extraordinary year,” referencing George Floyd, coronavirus and the NHS, while adding that it was “layered” and a “hindsight of 2020.”

Britain’s Got Talent returned on Saturday night, with the second semi-final pulling in 4.95 million viewers.

Following on from the thousands of Ofcom complaints Diversity’s dance receievd, the ITV show has been hit by controversy.

There was a decrease of 350,000 viewers on Saturday from the previous week, but numbers were still strong with 5.7 million tuning in at its peak.

Ashley Banjo has stepped in for Simon Cowell as a judge on the talent show
Ashley has stepped in for Simon Cowell as a judge on the talent show
(Image: Instagram/Ashley Banjo)
The dance routine included a reference to George Floyd's death and the following protests
The dance routine included a reference to George Floyd’s death and the following protests
(Image: Instagram/Ashley Banjo)

Prior to his video, Ashley also shared a post of himself, Anthony Joshua and Lewis Hamilton while hitting back at the comments he’d received.

The post had the words: “Dear Joshua and Banjo and any other Black public figures. We the Great British Public will only support you if you entertain us and do not say anything about racism.”

Ashley wrote alongside it: “For the people sending this:

1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public.

2. Silence was never and will never be an option.

3. Change is inevitable… Get used to it #Diversity,” he said with a warning.

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