Ashley Banjo of Diversity has taken to Instagram to address the backlash to the BLM routine the dance troupe did. British talent.
The anti-racist performance raised 15,000 complaints, but Ashley, a father of two, insisted the response was mostly positive and said he would never be proud of the performance.
“I just wanted to create a video to address some of the issues, it was a crazy week and I was a bit quiet in social life, and I was trying not to indulge in all of that, but now I feel like it was time and he said some things,” he began.
First, I would like to say thank you. They have reached out to all the people who supported what I did and the diversity of our performance.
“Frankly, it’s overwhelming, the positive reaction to what we did, hundreds of thousands of letters, comments, direct messages and interactions on the street.
“I know a lot of the press reports were about complaints and negativity, of which there was a lot – there were what, 15, 16,000 complaints, a lot of negativity thrown into the performance.
“Believe me, I am in the center of it and negativity is the minority.
“The positive response has been tremendous, so thank you very much to everyone who supported and showed love and stood by what we did.”
He also thanked everyone who reached out to the variety to verify they were okay, and insisted they were.
He said, “We feel positive, proud, happy, and confident, and we are committed to every decision we make with this performance.”
Sadly, Ashley said he was receiving fierce abuse by following the routine: “Everything from racial abuse, to threats, to some really hateful things.”
He continued, “I will not give her any more time than she deserves, but so much negativity, all that ugliness and racism, shows exactly why this performance is needed and why exactly this conversation arose now of it. Necessary.”
“Racism is very real, especially after this performance. I’ve known it before, and I definitely know it now.”
But he added that diversity is happy that they started the conversation and that is the price he’s willing to pay.
He also explained the strong performance and what it represented, saying, “The performance was a brief roundup of an extraordinary year, anything from lockdown, to COVID, to stunning NHS, to the spotlight on racism – it all happened with George Floyd in America. Protests and riots culminated in the idea of unity and hope.
“ People look back, hindsight of 2020 – that’s what the performance was all about, it was multi-layered, we wanted to give people hope and not shy away from the tough issues.
“This is a year that history will record for both positive and negative reasons.
“The thing that really seemed to communicate with people and to anger, harass and harass them was the fact that we stood up and said that racism is real, and as far as we are concerned, it must change and it will not be tolerated, because black lives matter.”