Ashley Banjo speaks about “shocking” reaction to Diversity’s BGT dance as it’s nominated for a BAFTA


Ashley Banjo has spoken about the continued “shocking” reaction to Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The BGT winners returned to the show last year with a performance about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The routine by 2009 winners Diversity was met by acclaim – as well as criticism. Over 25,000 complaints were made to TV watchdog Ofcom about the performance, but these were rejected by the regulator.

This week the performance was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award as one of 2020’s ‘must see moments’ with the award voted for by the public.

Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday night, Ashley is asked if he was surprised by the reaction and says: “I mean, yeah.. very surprised, we thought it would ruffle a few feathers, but not be one of the most complained about moments of the decade.”

He adds: “The reaction, even still to this day, the online reaction I get on a daily basis is shocking, actually. But I’d do it 100 times over.”

Ashley continues: “I’m just massively proud of it. It was controversial, made a lot of people unhappy, but it also made a lot of people stand up and be proud. It made a lot of conversations happen that needed to happen. Only this week, the performance itself was Bafta nominated. Fingers crossed. To win it would be incredible.

“Just to be nominated itself for me is just incredible… That performance, it was life-changing, it was incredible.

“To potentially win a Bafta for something that was controversial when it shouldn’t have been, it will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life.”

Ashley continues: “ITV are incredible. After the performance, they backed it. They put out full-page ads in the press.

“My dad, to see me taking the knee in the national papers across the country.

“He was like, ‘I was young when it would say no blacks, no dogs, no Irish and now I’m looking at you in the national press’. He was really touched. That’s progress. Just seeing his face.”

Ashley also got a call from Meghan and Harry after the performance, sharing: “Sitting in my front garden, phone rang, it’s Megan and Harry… I was like, ‘Hey, how you doing.. you alright?’… We had a really lovely chat.

“Made me sort of realise, way before their [Oprah] interview, they spoke me through some stuff and really opened my eyes to some of the stuff they’d been through. I was like, wow, this is real and if anyone understood it, they did, about where I was at, in the midst of a storm.

“It was basically front page news for about three weeks. I still can’t really understand why. It was huge and people were talking about it. They said, listen we understand what it’s like to receive that sort of negativity.”

The Jonathan Ross Show, Saturday 1 May, 9:35PM on ITV and ITV Hub.

You can vote for the BAFTA TV Award Must See Moment winner online here.