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Ariana DeBose issues surprising response to viral Bafta performance: ‘Honestly, I love this’

Following the performance, DeBose deactivated her Twitter account

Tom Murray
Thursday 23 February 2023 09:45 GMT
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Ariana DeBose performs unusual live song during Baftas

Ariana DeBose has commented on her much-derided performance at the 2023 Baftas for the first time since the event.

The 32-year-old West Side Story star opened the Baftas on Sunday (19 February) with a rendition of Eurythmics’s 1985 hit track “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”.

Halfway through the song, DeBose broke into rap, name-checking the female nominees in the audience with lines like: “Angela Bassett did the thing. Viola Davis, my Woman King. Blanchett Cate, you’re a genius. Jamie Lee [Curtis], you are all of us.”

Following the performance, DeBose deactivated her Twitter account as the rap became the subject of online ridicule, leading fans to believe she was upset by the reaction.

Her Instagram, however, remains active. The star has now commented on a roundup of the many internet memes poking fun at “Angela Basset did the thing” in particular.

“When Angela Basset wins the Oscar she must start her speech by saying ‘and in the words of Ariana DeBose, I did the thing,’” one of the memes shared by fashion columnist Evan Ross Katz read.

DeBose commented on the post on Tuesday (21 February), writing: “Honestly I love this.”

Following the backlash DeBose received for the performance, Baftas producer Nick Bullen stepped in to defend the star.

“I think it’s incredibly unfair, to be frank,” he said of the criticism. “I absolutely loved it. Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it.”

“... 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,” Bullen added.

Find a full rundown of the 2023 Baftas here, as well as the full list of winners here.

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