After a controversial BAFTA Film Awards rapping performance, Ariana DeBose has spoken out in her first interview after the viral incident.
During an excerpt of her interview on BBC Radio 2s The Zoe Ball breakfast Show over the weekend, she said she wanted to celebrate women with her rapping of the female nominees. She explained, “That’s what I wanted to do. It’s not like I was like, ‘Hey BAFTA, let me in!’ They actually called me, believe it or not. That was the assignment, like, ‘Come celebrate women.’ I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ And we did that, and it was fun.”
“A woman celebrating women” 🧡 👏 Ariana DeBose talks for the first time about that iconic BAFTAs performance! #BBCRadio2 #BBCSounds #iPlayer♬ original sound – BBC – BBC
The part where she rapped about “Angela Bassett did the thing” sparked criticism and even became a famous meme. Eventually, DeBose had to delete her Twitter account though she commented about one of the memes on Instagram.
She reflected on her BAFTA experience, “Not gonna lie. I had a blast. So awesome. And then I spent the rest of the night…cutting a rug with Emma Thompson. Like, it was fabulous. I had a great time. Baz Luhrmann came and found me and he was like, ‘No, I think you’re great, that was fun. I had fun.’ And I was like, ‘Work!'”
Despite the criticism, the actress received support on social media. She said during the interview, “Apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it?. So that’s good, I’ll take it.” Even Lizzo rapped the Bassett line on February 23 while performing in Amsterdam during her concert.
Meanwhile, BAFTA producer Nick Bullen already shared his thoughts about her performance on Variety. He said, “I absolutely loved it. Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it. She’s a huge star, she was amazing. The songs she was singing are very familiar songs, the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music. That rap section in the middle, mentioning the women in the room, was because it’s been a great year for women in film, and we wanted to celebrate that.”
He added, “And here is a woman of color who is at the absolute top of her game. And she’s opening the BAFTAs with a song that said so much on so many levels. All of those mentions, I felt, from the moment we were rehearsing it right through to the transmission last night, spoke to what we wanted to do.”