Regardless, Angela Bassett did do the thing!
BAFTAs award producer Nick Bullen is defending Ariana DeBose‘s flashy opening performance during the British awards show Sunday night.
@bbc This was a MOMENT 🤩 @arianadebose #BAFTA #BAFTAFilm2023 #iPlayer ♬ original sound – BBC
According to Variety, DeBose’s performance, which featured a medley of “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves,” “We Are Family” and an original rap about the female nominees, was raked across the coals on Twitter for being cringy. The backlash was such that the West Side Story star deactivated her Twitter account.
Bullen called the controversy “incredibly unfair,” telling Variety that DeBose “put the whole piece together” with her team and worked a musical director and choreographer.
“We wanted to open the show with some energy, some fun, and also lay out straight away that this was hopefully going to feel like a different night, but with a familiarity as well, and what Ariana did was exactly that,” he said. “I think a lot of people don’t like change, and there’s a view that the BAFTAs have to be this slightly stiff, traditional British, middle-England messaging. But American awards shows have much more razzmatazz, much more showbiz, and perhaps a broader range of people being involved. We felt we’re not about evolution, we’re about evolution.”
There are conflicting reports as to whether DeBose deactivated her account because of the backlash (there is evidence that it was deactivated pre-BAFTAs), she is apparently loving the memes people have created about her performance, particularly DeBose’s line of “Angela Bassett did the thing.”
According to Cosmopolitan, DeBose responded to Evan Ross Katz’s Instagram post about the meme, writing, “honestly I love this.”