Ashley Banjo thanks people who complained after BGT routine in powerful speech

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Ashley Banjo has thanked the people who complained about Diversity's dance routine on Britain's Got Talent, as it highlighted the devastating presence of racism in Britain.

The professional dancer, 32, accepted the award for Virgin Media's Must-See Moment on Sunday evening's BAFTA TV Awards in London, beating shows like EastEnders and Gogglebox.

Ashley and his brother Jordan Banjo appeared on the stage to thank viewers for voting for the moment, which received tens of thousands of complaints when it first aired on Britain's Got Talent.

In September of last year, the Diversity crew performed during the Britain's Got Talent live shows, choreographing a routine inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality.

At one point in the dance, the dancers all kneeled and said "I can't breathe," in reference to the murder of George Floyd in May of last year.

Though the dance routine was incredibly moving and powerful, over 30,000 viewers contacted Ofcom to complain, and the stars of Diversity faced racial abuse and trolling online.

Accepting the award, Ashley said: "I'm in bits man, this is mad. This is so much more than just an award."

Ashley then thanked Diversity's supporters, who defended them in the face of the complaints, saying: "You guys made the difference to what was a really dark time.

"Being in the storm of 30,000 complaints. Just a torrent of racially charged abuse, threats, all of it. It was a dark time.

He went on: "And in a way, I have to say thank you to the people who complained, to the people that did put all of that abuse out there online, because you showed the truth.

"You showed exactly why this performance and this moment was necessary."

He then gestured to the glittering BAFTA TV Award before him on the podium and pointed out it was a sign of hope and change.

He went on: "But for all of those people just take a look, because this, as much as there are so many conversations, and as much as there is so much that needs to change, this is what change looks like.

"And I'm so proud to be standing here. So thankful to all of those people."

Making his way off the stage, as his brother Jordan applauded the speech, Ashley finished: "Standing here right now, this represents the majority. Thank you all so so much.

"Let's keep having those difficult conversations, let's keep standing up for what's right regardless of the colour of our skin and we will achieve what's right."

  • Britains Got Talent

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