Ashley Banjo target of 'racial abuse and threats' after BGT BLM routine

Ashley Banjo has told how he has received ‘racial abuse’ and ‘threats’ over Diversity’s BLM routine on Britain’s Got Talent after it was flooded with thousands of complaints.

The dance troupe – who were crowned winners of the ITV series in 2009 – returned to the stage during the semi-final last Saturday.

They blessed viewers with a moving routine, which included references to taking the knee, as well as George Floyd’s death earlier this year.

While some viewers were moved by the emotional performance, flocking to social media to praise the dancers, others complained to Ofcom in their droves.

The TV watchdog received more than 15,500 complaints – breaking a 2020 record.

Ashley, who has remained silent up until now, took to Instagram to address the issue, and while he has received lots of messages of support from fans, he also received a lot of negative messages.

‘What’s up everyone, I just wanted to do a quick video just to address some issues, it has been a crazy week and I have been a bit quiet on social been living life, but now I feel is the time to come out and say a few things’ he began.

‘Firstly, I want to say thank you, for all the people who have supported what me and Diversity did with our performance. Honestly, it is overwhelming.

‘Hundreds of thousands of messages, comments DMs and interactions in the street.’

The dancer went on to add that despite the thousands of complaints made to Ofcom he stands by the BLM routine.

He continued: ‘I know a lot of the press reports have been about the complaints and the negativity, which there has been a lot – there’s has been what, 15, 16,000 complaints.

‘A lot of negativity 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 we made with that performance.’

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 s nationwide conversation – what more could I ask for as a creative, as an artist?’

Addressing the negativity, Ashley acknowledged ‘there’s been a lot’.

‘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, all of the nastiness and the racism shows exactly why this performance was needed and exactly why this conversation has now arisen from it.

‘Racism is very real, especially after this performance.’

The professional dancer also spoke about the dance routine itself as he explained to his followers that it included lots of things that have happened this year.

He said: ‘The performance was a round-up of an extraordinary year, anything from lockdown, to Covid, to the incredible NHS, to the spotlight that has been shone on racism – everything that happened with George Floyd in America, the protests, the riots.

‘Hindsight 2020 – that is what the performance was about. We wanted to give people hope.’

Ashley concluded the post by sending love to all his fans as he told them ‘Black Lives Matter’.

‘The bit that really seemed to connect with people and agitate and annoy and offend some people is that we stood up and said that racism is real,’ he commented.

‘Black Lives Matter – now, a lot of people were offended by the political nature but that’s never what we intended. Black Lives Matter long before it was political – Black Lives Matter is a fact – is and always will be a fact.

‘I am proud and I am happy and I want thank everyone who has supported us, I don’t want these conversations to end.’

Britain’s Got Talent airs on Saturday at 8pm on ITV.

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