Ashley Banjo: Dance routine caused ‘shock’ at rehearsal

Ashley Banjo says his Black Lives Matter-inspired dance surprised onlookers at the dress rehearsal – but he was given ITV’s full support.

Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent performance, which featured a dancer playing a white police officer kneel on Banjo, sparked over 24,000 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

Banjo told GQ Hype: “I don’t think I’ve had anything but full support from the production company and ITV.

“I’ve done a lot of work with ITV, so they trust me creatively.

View this post on Instagram

Always good vibes with these 3 💫🇬🇧

A post shared by Ashley Banjo (@ashleybanjogram) on Sep 20, 2020 at 10:17am PDT

“I said to them on the phone that week before, ‘This is what I think I’m going to do’. And they were great with it. That’s really important.

“They didn’t say anything until we turned up on the day. We turned up and we rehearsed. I think it was a bit of a shock for everybody (there). Everyone was like, ‘Wow, this is where you’re going’.

“But as much as it was a shock… The first run-through in rehearsal, people said they either were in tears or that it connected with them. That for me was so important.”

The performance was “a summary” of the year, “from lockdown to Covid to people standing out in the streets clapping the incredible NHS… It was an idea of unity, the idea of hope”, he said.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge added: “The idea that there are some people who didn’t even really know that racism still exists, that’s the problem for me.

“That’s why it’s the right stage.

“That’s why I’m so passionate about creating these performances.”

His comments come after the Duke of Sussex backed Banjo, saying he had spoken to the dancer and that “he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display”.

The full feature is at GQ Hype