Diversity’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ BLM Performance

The award-winning dance group Diversity performed a powerful and emotive Black Lives Matter routine in the first “Britain’s Got Talent” semi-finals.

As part of the routine, a dancer, dressed as a police officer, knelt on the neck of Ashely Banjo to re-enact the tragic and shocking death of George Floyd in May which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement all across the world.

The most important moments of the performance that touched many people including aratrust Members and Supporters were the spoken word elements, especially the reference to the pandemic we are living through.  Ashely Banjo said that even more important, however, is the bigger ‘virus’ of racism plaguing our society:  “While we all were hidden, under orders of the Prime Minister, people dusted off their instincts and noticed something more sinister. Another disease, deep-rooted in our system. Fear, hate and ignorance. But racism was the symptom”.

Another emotive part of the performance that aratrust thinks will make people understand and reflect on the importance of the message was Ashely Banjo’s words: “As the world watched on, another black life gone, leaving what we thought we knew in tatters”“What we thought we knew, some clearly didn’t. Black Lives Matter”.

As Diversity reflected on their performance, saying “The performance is extremely special to me and the rest of Diversity” and adding “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”.

The performance was met with admiration from individuals and organisations on social media, including the Mobo Awards, however there is another daily reminder that there is a lot of progress still to be made as the performance sadly received over 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.

https://extra.ie/2020/09/08/entertainment/movies-tv/diversity-britains-got-talent

Aratrust remains heartened by the fact that these complaints were rejected by Ofcom’s ruling that the complaints about the performance being racist against white people, unsuitable for a family show and expressing support for a political entity were not considered ‘valid’. Ofcom showed support for the performance stating that ‘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…… no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter’.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/britains-got-talent-diversity-black-lives-matter-complaints-offcom-investigation-b466850.html

Many people including aratrust welcome ITV’s support for the performance and the push towards greater inclusivity and diversity on their platforms. ITV released a statement saying “ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity’s performance on BGT. Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020”.

The broadcaster revealed that only 12.5% of their workforce are from minority-ethnic backgrounds, and, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, it has outlined a clear strategy to become a more inclusive employer/broadcaster. Aratrust welcomes these changes that include:

  • increasing diversity among the broadcaster’s highest-profile shows
  • supporting talent from minority-ethnic backgrounds to help them secure lead roles
  • ‘educating’ ALL employees by undertaking race and inclusion training so they can understand  racism and build a more inclusive culture
  • creating up to 20 new middle management roles and 40 apprenticeships

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/itv-makes-diversity-pledges-introduces-mandatory-training-racism/1689054

https://inews.co.uk/culture/diversity-bgt-dance-blm-performance-complaints-ofcom-investigation-black-lives-matter-itv-explained-641653 Aratrust is proud to provide an extra platform to publicise and support initiatives such as Diversity’s!