Britain's Got Talent: Ashley Banjo speaks out about BLM routine

Last updated at 07:39
Ashley Banjo and Perri KielyShutterstock
Ashley Banjo (centre left) is also sitting in for Simon Cowell as a judge on BGT

Britain's Got Talent judge Ashley Banjo has said that despite some negative reactions to Diversity's Black Lives Matter performance, he got much more of a positive reaction.

Speaking since the performance, Ashley said: "The negative voices in the room always seem the loudest at first, but you look past all of that and you look past the few select headlines and genuinely there is so much more positivity than negativity."

Ashley said that members of the group and their family received messages of abuse and been called names after their performance on Britain's Got Talent.

He defended the dance routine he and his troupe Diversity performed on Britain's Got Talent, which received over 24,500 complaints.

"For us the sentiment of Black Lives Matter - no funding, no organisation, no politics, nothing like that, but as a sentiment, as a sentence itself - if you disagree with that sentence then I don't really know what to say."

Its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity

Ofcom on complaints
Diversity dance troupe in 2009Getty Images
Diversity won Britain's Got Talent in 2009

The routine saw Banjo being knelt on, and handcuffed, by a dancer dressed as a police officer, which was a reference to George Floyd, who was killed in May this year.

Last week, ITV praised the "authentic, heartfelt" performance and the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said it will not formally investigate the routine, despite many complaints - saying "Its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity".

Ashley also said the routine has sparked a conversation in schools.

"You have ranging from people in the petrol station shouting across the forecourt how much they loved it and they watched it with their kids, we have been speaking to people saying 'My husband's a teacher or I'm a teacher and we showed it at school.'

Lewis HamiltonGetty Images
Lewis Hamilton tweeted to say the dance was "incredible".

"You have people like Lewis Hamilton tweeting and it's sparking a positive conversation, which is what we wanted," he added.

Banjo also explained why it was important to include the theme in the routine, saying "having a summary of 2020 as a performance and leaving out something as huge and important to us as Black Lives Matter seemed like we were trying to avoid it which we don't want to do."

Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely and Ashley BanjoGetty Images
Jordan Banjo (left), Perri Kiely (centre) and Ashley Banjo (right) received a lot of abusive messages after the routine.

The routine was meant to be a "celebration" and it also referred to thanking the NHS, facing coronavirus, and looking forward to the future.

Perri Kiely spoke about the amount of complaints the group received and said: "You don't understand why there should be so many complaints, so to get the backing [of Ofcom] after something like that is just positive. It's exactly what you want."

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