‘Kiss my black a**’: Outrage over TV show
One of the UK's most popular television shows has been rocked by a race row after a "powerful" performance ended in a slew of complaints, prompting one judge to comment "kiss my black a**".
Dance group Diversity, led by Ashley Banjo, who is also a stand in judge on the show, performed a routine this week that saw him lying on the floor with a white police officer kneeling on him, referencing the death of George Floyd in the US.
The four minute performance told the story of 2020 including everything from online shopping to the emergence of coronavirus, race riots in the US and clap for our carers in the UK.
There were also backing dancers performing dressed in riot gear and the group took the knee during the performance.
It was hailed as powerful by viewers, but also sparked more than 10,000 complaints from many who thought it was overly political for an entertainment show.
After the backlash, judge Banjo posted an image on his Instagram saying that "silence was never and will never be an option" and "change is inevitable … get used to it."
Fellow judge Alesha Dixon waded in to support him, posting "kiss my black a**" in a comment that was liked more than 1000 times.
Another judge Amanda Holden also posted a black love heart emoji.
Diversity's powerful performance has since become the second most complained about TV moment in a decade in the UK.
The first is Roxanne Pallett's Celebrity Big Brother 'punchgate' drama, which reached 25,327 complaints.
Ashley revealed earlier this week that he had received a barrage of abuse over the performance. He thanked his critics for proving that it was a necessary.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: "So much to say … But I'll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support - Thank you.
"For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance - Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all."
Some BGT viewers said the "powerful" performance had moved them to tears while others insisted a "political statement" had no place on the talent show.
One wrote: "Powerful and poignant and thought provoking. What you all did was OUTSTANDING."
Another tweeted: "Just amazing powerful performance! Moved me to tears. You guys are just THE BEST!!!"
A third posted: "Keep doing the right thing. This piece was SO powerful."
Diversity performed their spectacular trademark spinning dance moves in front of backing dancers dressed as riot police with shields.
WATCH THE FULL PERFORMANCE HERE
Ashley's brother Jordan fought back tears over the "horrible" complaints. Speaking on his Kiss Radio show he said it was "genuinely sad".
Jordan, 27, said: "Of course you get some critiques but normally it's focused on the dance.
"But this one was different, it was really important, it was special to us.
"We are all about positivity and love and we got so much positivity and love back from this one.
"But we also got bombarded with messages and articles of horrible stuff about us, about our families, about how even now Diversity not diverse enough because there's only five white people in it."
Getting emotional, he added: "I can't speak for anyone else it's sad, it's sad, genuinely."
Meanwhile, Diversity dancer Perri Kiely hit back at one critic telling them to "get in the bin".
Ashley opened the performance by reciting a viral poem 'The Great Realisation' by the singer Tomfoolery, which is about the BLM movement and police brutality.
The performance also addressed the coronavirus, capitalism, and the growth of delivery services like Amazon.
It was branded "powerful" by host Dec Donnelly moments after it ended.
After the performance, Ashley said: "This performance is extremely special to me and the rest of Diversity.
"2020 has been an incredible moment in history for both positive and negative reasons.
"We wanted to use the platform we've been given to make our voices heard, express how the events of this year have made us feel and think about how we might look back on them in the future … We call it hindsight 2020."
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission
Originally published as 'Kiss my black a**': Outrage over TV show