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07th Jun 2021

Diversity thank people who complained over BLM dance in Bafta win speech

Kieran Galpin

The 2021 Bafta awards was a fabulous demonstration of Black excellence in the television industry. I May Destroy You, Diversity, Rakie Ayola, and Sitting In Limbo, all made history with their unrivalled portrayal of the Black experience.

Diversity won Virgin Media’s must-see moment, which is a category voted on by the general public.

Their award-winning dance on Britains Got Talent last year was met with both praise and an onslaught of complaints to Ofcom. The performance recapped some of the most significant moments in 2020, most notably the horrendous murder of George Floyd and the following BLM movement that swept the country.

The dance was compelling, detailing the brutality and injustice that people of colour experience daily. However, the dance also celebrated black people and their refusal to give up, keep going, and fight harder.

Though the performance received a stand ovation from the judges and a roar of applause from the audience, the reaction online was not so supportive. Over 24,000 people complained to Ofcom, citing racism against white people and endorsing a political movement as distressing for families. Ofcom later dismissed the complaints, stating that the performance was merely a “call for social cohesion and unity”.

After accepting the award alongside his brother, the leader of the UK dance group had the following to say:

“Thank you to every single person that voted for us. It means so much.”

“Thank you to everyone that stood by us, every phone call, text, comment, DM. You guys made a 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, but that support made a difference.”

“In a way, I have to say thank you to the people that complained,” he said.

“Because you showed the truth. You showed exactly why this performance and this moment was necessary. But for all those people, just take a look – because this, as much as there are so many conversations and so much that needs to change, this is what change looks like.”