Since performing a powerful dance with his Diversity group during a Britain’s Got Talent semi-final last week, Ashley Banjo has received complaints and racist abuse and now he has spoken out on some of the messages he has received.
Following the Black Lives Matter-inspired performance last week, Ashley Banjo and Diversity’s performance has received over 15,500 complaints but in a new video on Instagram TV, Banjo has said the negativity was “in the minority” of the feedback he has received.
“It’s been a crazy week, and I’ve kind of been a bit quiet on socials,” Banjo said in the video. “I’ve been living life, trying not to get caught up in it all, but I feel like now is the time to come out and say a few things.
“So firstly, I just want to say thank you to all the people who have supported what me and Diversity did with our performance, and reached out. Honestly, it’s overwhelming, the positive reaction to what we did, hundreds of thousands of messages, comments, DMs, interactions in the street.
“And I know that a lot of the sort of press reports have been about the complaints and the negativity – which, there has been a lot, there’s been what? 15 or 16,000 complaints, a lot of negativity thrown back at the performance – but trust me, I’m right in the centre of it, and the negativity is the minority.”
He added: “We’re feeling positive, proud, happy, confident and we stand by every single decision that we made with that performance.
“I mean, 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 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… it feels like the biggest gift ever.”
Later on in the video, Banjo speaks on the negativity he and other members of Diversity have received since the performance, describing the racism as “overwhelming”.
“Moving onto the negativity, it’s been a lot,” he continued. “You know, everything from racial abuse to threats to just some really nasty stuff that I’m not even going to bring light to, because I’m not going to give it any more time than it deserves.
“But a lot of the negativity and the nastiness and the racism shows exactly why this performance was needed, and exactly why this conversation that has now risen from it is necessary.
“Racism is very real, I knew it before, and I definitely know it now. After this performance, and everything that we’ve received, it’s been overwhelming in the negative sense sometimes.”
Banjo’s IGTV video comes after Ofcom revealed it had received over 15,000 complaints in relation to Diversity’s performance on BGT, which is the second highest number of complaints to Ofcom for a TV show since 2010.
Speaking on the complaints, an Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are assessing this content against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”
Watch Ashley Banjo’s Instagram video below.