Ariana DeBose Breaks Silence After Awkward BAFTAs Performance And Twitter Deactivation
Ariana DeBose is addressing her recent BAFTAs performance after it went viral for all the wrong reasons.
The actor and singer was widely mocked online for awkwardly rapping about all the nominated women at Sunday’s British Academy Film Awards. DeBose appeared to go silent and even deactivated her Twitter account amid the ridicule, but she emerged in person Saturday to address the fiasco.
“Honestly, it’s not like I was like, ‘Hey BAFTA, let me in!’” she told host Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2’s “Breakfast Show.”
“That was the assignment — like, ‘Come celebrate women.’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ And we did that, and it was fun. Not going to lie — I had a blast.”
DeBose told Ball that performing for her peers was “awesome” and “fabulous,” adding that she followed it up by “cutting a rug” with actor Emma Thompson. The Oscar-winning “West Side Story” star also said that director Baz Luhrmann, who won two BAFTAs in 1998, told her she did well.
“He was like: ‘No, I think you’re great. That was fun. I had fun,’” DeBose told Ball. “And I was like, ‘work.’ That’s a win, you guys. And apparently, gay Twitter seemed to like it, so that’s good. I’ll take it.”
@bbc “A woman celebrating women” 🧡 👏 Ariana DeBose talks for the first time about that iconic BAFTAs performance! #BBCRadio2#BBCSounds#iPlayer♬ original sound - BBC
Though Ball described DeBose’s rap as a “woman singing and dancing, being magnificent, celebrating women,” much of the internet had a different reaction, turning it into a meme. The performance, which followed host Richard E. Grant’s opening monologue, was certainly ripe for it.
“Dame Emma, I’m so fond. Ana, girl, you were great in ‘Blonde,’” she rapped. “Danielle D., you broke my heart. Michelle, I’ve loved you from the start. Angela Bassett did the thing. Viola Davis, my ‘Woman King.’ Blanchett, Cate, you’re a genius. Jamie Lee, you are all of us!”
While the named actors — Thompson, Ana de Armas, Danielle Deadwyler, Michelle Yeoh, Bassett, Davis, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis — appeared to enjoy the performance, Twitter users shared thoughts of their own, which presumably spurred DeBose to leave the platform.
Though she has yet to reactivate her account, DeBose has garnered some high-profile supporters.
BAFTA producer Nick Bullen told Variety that the “incredibly unfair” criticism of DeBose, who “put the whole piece together,” may have resulted from a clash between the “younger people” her rap was aimed at and the “slightly stiff, traditional” crowd.
On Saturday, the actor reposted an Instagram video of Lizzo emulating her rap at a concert in Amsterdam, writing, “The internet is wild y’all.” In the comments section, “The Last of Us” star Melanie Lynskey told DeBose she was “amazing,” and actor Gabrielle Union chimed in with several red heart emojis. So it certainly seems that DeBose did ... the thing.