Diversity's Ashley Banjo says he would do BLM-themed ‘BGT’ dance ‘100 times over’

Julia Hunt
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Ashley Banjo attends the National Television Awards on January 25, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Ashley Banjo (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Ashley Banjo has said he would make the same choices about his Diversity dance on Britain’s Got Talent “100 times over”, as Ofcom announced it would not investigate over the performance.

The dancer and his troupe performed the emotional Black Lives Matter-themed dance on the ITV show earlier this month.

The routine – which told the story of the death of George Floyd – sparked controversy and triggered more than 24,000 complaints, but broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has now concluded that the programme “did not raise issues which warranted investigation under our broadcasting rules”.

Read more: Alesha Dixon backs Diversity after BGT dance sparks complaints

Sharing Ofcom’s decision on Instagram, Banjo wrote: “Creativity is always a leap of faith.

“All I did what was what felt right and I’d do it 100 times over...

“Sending love to everyone that stood by us.”

Banjo’s wife Francesca wrote on Instagram: “Right will always prevail.”

The performance narrated some of the events of 2020 including the coronavirus pandemic and Floyd’s death, and at one point saw a figure in police uniform place his knee on Banjo’s neck.

It became the second most complained about TV incident of the decade behind Celebrity Big Brother’s 2018 ‘punchgate’ controversy.

However, Ofcom has now concluded that the central message of the dance was “a call for social cohesion and unity”.

Sharing its assessment, the watchdog said it had received approximately 24,500 complaints about the programme and that those complaining outlined a range of concerns “including that the themes of violence and racism were inappropriate for family viewing, that it expressed support for the political organisation Black Lives Matter and that it was racist towards white people”.

Diversity's dance divided audiences. (Syco/Thames)
Diversity's dance divided audiences. (Syco/Thames)

Ofcom also received numerous messages of support and praise for the dance.

Read more: Alesha Dixon 'in floods of tears' over Diversity's Black Lives Matter-themed dance

A spokesperson said: “We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important.

“Diversity’s performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity.

“Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.”