ashley banjo wife

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Ashley Banjo has spoken about the continued “shocking” reaction to Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The BGT winners returned to the show last year with a performance about the Black Lives Matter movement.

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The routine by 2009 winners Diversity was met by acclaim - as well as criticism. Over 25,000 complaints were made to TV watchdog Ofcom about the performance, but these were rejected by the regulator.

This week the performance was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award as one of 2020’s ‘must see moments’ with the award voted for by the public.

Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday night, Ashley is asked if he was surprised by the reaction and says: “I mean, yeah.. very surprised, we thought it would ruffle a few feathers, but not be one of the most complained about moments of the decade.”

He adds: “The reaction, even still to this day, the online reaction I get on a daily basis is shocking, actually. But I’d do it 100 times over.”

Ashley continues: “I’m just massively proud of it. It was controversial, made a lot of people unhappy, but it also made a lot of people stand up and be proud. It made a lot of conversations happen that needed to happen. Only this week, the performance itself was Bafta nominated. Fingers crossed. To win it would be incredible.

“Just to be nominated itself for me is just incredible… That performance, it was life-changing, it was incredible.

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“To potentially win a Bafta for something that was controversial when it shouldn’t have been, it will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life.”

Ashley continues: “ITV are incredible. After the performance, they backed it. They put out full-page ads in the press.

“My dad, to see me taking the knee in the national papers across the country.

“He was like, ‘I was young when it would say no blacks, no dogs, no Irish and now I’m looking at you in the national press’. He was really touched. That’s progress. Just seeing his face.”

Ashley also got a call from Meghan and Harry after the performance, sharing: “Sitting in my front garden, phone rang, it’s Megan and Harry… I was like, ‘Hey, how you doing.. you alright?’… We had a really lovely chat.

“Made me sort of realise, way before their [Oprah] interview, they spoke me through some stuff and really opened my eyes to some of the stuff they’d been through. I was like, wow, this is real and if anyone understood it, they did, about where I was at, in the midst of a storm.

“It was basically front page news for about three weeks. I still can’t really understand why. It was huge and people were talking about it. They said, listen we understand what it’s like to receive that sort of negativity.”

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The Jonathan Ross Show, Saturday 1 May, 9:35PM on ITV and ITV Hub.

You can vote for the BAFTA TV Award Must See Moment winner online here.

Ashley Banjo: It would stay with me forever to win Bafta for Diversity routine

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Ashley Banjo has said it would stay with him “for the rest of his life” to win a Bafta for Diversity’s headline-grabbing performance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The Black Lives Matter-inspired routine is among six nominees for the Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment Award at the television Baftas, which is voted for by the public.

The powerful dance saw a man in a police uniform kneel on star Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, while other dancers performed with police riot shields.

It sparked more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom but the broadcasting watchdog said it would not investigate the incident and ITV praised the dance troupe for their “authentic, heartfelt” routine.

Banjo told The Jonathan Ross Show: “We thought it would ruffle a few feathers, but not be one of the most complained about moments of the decade.

Watch: Diversity’s Black Lives Matter routine in running for TV moment of the year

“The reaction, even still to this day, the online reaction I get on a daily basis is shocking, actually.

“But I’d do it 100 times over.

“I’m just massively proud of it.

“It was controversial, made a lot of people unhappy, but it also made a lot of people stand up and be proud.

“It made a lot of conversations happen that needed to happen.

“Only this week, the performance itself was Bafta nominated.

“Fingers crossed.

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“To win it would be incredible.

“Just to be nominated itself for me is just incredible… That performance, it was life-changing, it was incredible.

“To potentially win a Bafta for something that was controversial when it shouldn’t have been, it will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life.”

Discussing being contacted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the performance, he said: “Sitting in my front garden, phone rang, it’s Meghan and Harry… I was like, ‘Hey, how you doing.. you all right?’… We had a really lovely chat.

“Made me sort of realise, way before their (Oprah) interview, they spoke me through some stuff and really opened my eyes to some of the stuff they’d been through.

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“I was like, wow, this is real and if anyone understood it, they did, about where I was at, in the midst of a storm.

“It was basically front page news for about three weeks.

“I still can’t really understand why.

“It was huge and people were talking about it.

“They said, listen we understand what it’s like to receive that sort of negativity.”

The Diversity dance routine is nominated for a Bafta alongside Penelope being revealed as the mysterious Lady Whistledown in Netflix’s raunchy period drama Bridgerton, abusive husband Gray Atkins killing Chantelle in BBC One’s EastEnders and Luke Skywalker appearing in The Mandalorian on Disney+ also make the shortlist.

Nigella Lawson’s mispronunciation of the word microwave as “mee-cro-wah-vay” also features, after the scene from her BBC Two programme Cook, Eat, Repeat became a viral hit on social media.

Gogglebox on Channel 4 is nominated for scenes showing its armchair critics responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s coronavirus press conferences.

The Jonathan Ross Show is on May 1 at 9.35pm on ITV.

Watch: Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall spice up their relationship during cooking therapy

Diversity BLM dance: what was the controversial routine on Britain’s Got Talent - and why is it up for a BAFTA?

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Diversity’s Ashley Banjo defended the performance, which some considered inappropriate and ‘too political’ for a family show (Picture: Getty Images)

The 2021 BAFTAs will be held on 6 June, acknowledging contributions to television throughout 2020.

The nominations for the Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award have now been announced and Diversity’s controversial Black Lives Matter routine is among the six entries.

The dance was a representation of the killing of George Floyd and the performance included choreographer and dancer Ashley Banjo being knelt on by a dancer dressed as a police officer - a reference to Floyd’s murder.The routine led to over 20,500 Ofcom complaints after the show aired, so why has it been nominated for an award, what other entries is it up against - and how do viewers vote? when

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What happened during the controversial dance routine?

Diversity’s performance took place at the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent, on 5 September 2020.

At the time, Banjo had replaced Simon Cowell on the show as a judge while Cowell recovered from a back injury.

The dance referenced events that have taken place around the world following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in May last year by police officer Derek Chauvin.

Members of the dance troupe mimicked the incident during which Floyd was asphyxiated as Chauvin knelt on his neck and chest.

In the routine, Banjo lay down on the stage while a performer dressed as a police officer knelt on his back. The words “I can’t breathe” formed part of the backing track, referencing words spoken by Floyd.

Elements of the Black Lives Matter protests, which took place around the world following Floyd’s death, were also incorporated into the dance routine.

Throughout the performance, dancers carried riot shields and viewers also watched as the troupe took the knee.

How did viewers react to the performance?

In the month which followed the routine, complaints flooded in from viewers who claimed the performance was “too political” and inappropriate for a family show.

Ofcom received more than 20,500 complaints about the segment of BGT, but said the programme had not broken broadcasting guidelines.

Despite the complaints, Ofcom confirmed it would not be investigating the show as it felt the main message of the routine was “a call for social cohesion and unity”.

Some complaints suggested that the performance was using the show as a platform to highlight the political issues.

Other viewers went further, suggesting it was racist towards white people, too critical of white police officers and was endorsing a political movement, among other complaints.

Social media was also awash with people sharing their views of the show, with some saying they would not be watching BGT again as it had not reflected the suitability of a family show.

How did Diversity respond to the complaints?

As the troupe’s leader and main choreographer, Banjo responded to the complaints by saying he stood by the performance, saying those who took issue with its subject matter “highlight exactly what needs to change”.

He added that Diversity “wanted to express how the events of this year have made us feel”.

Which other moments have made the BAFTA shortlist?

Alongside the Diversity performance, Netflix’s record-breaking period drama Bridgerton has made the shortlist for the Must-See Moment Award, with its scene of Lady Whistledown being revealed.

In the scenes leading to the revelation, Lady Whistledown is seen disappearing in her carriage, before she removes her hood to show her face.

Penelope Featherington is revealed as Lady Whistledown in the Bridgerton season one finale, with a second and third season now commissioned by Netflix.

Eastenders has also made the list of nominations, for the scene in which Gray kills Chantelle.

The storyline covers issues of physical and psychological abuse, as Gray had tormented his wife Chantelle for years before her death.

In a true reflection of the past year, Gogglebox’s reactions to Boris Johnson’s news conference on Covid tiers has also been nominated. The episode included the Gogglebox participants attempting to make sense of the rules regarding what constitutes a meal in a pub.

Nigella Lawson could also claim a BAFTA after her award-worthy pronunciation of ‘microwave’. On her BBC cooking show ‘Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat’ she named the appliance, with the unusual pronunciation “Mee-cro-wah-vay”.

Last but not least, Disney’s Mandalorian has also been nominated for the scene when Luke Skywalker appears. In December 2020, ‘The Mandalorian’ became the most watched streaming series in the US.

How will the winner be chosen?

The Must-See Moment Award is the only award of the ceremony to be determined by the public.

Viewers have until 17:00 BST on 24 May to vote for the winner, which will be announced at the 6 June ceremony.