Ariana DeBose is doing her “thing” and trying to roll with the punches after this weekend’s BAFTA Film Awards in London.
DeBose helped open the awards show that celebrates achievements in filmmaking, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on Sunday, and her performance earned attention for a brief rap interlude during her musical number that celebrated the female nominees of the evening.
In the days since, memes aplenty have been generated from DeBose’s ditty, especially a moment where she performed a dance move while intoning, “Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis, my ‘Woman King!’”
While DeBose has since left Twitter – purportedly due to trolls and hateful tweets about the opener – BAFTAs producer Nick Bullen told Variety on Tuesday that the criticism her well-meaning performance has drawn is “incredibly unfair.”
“Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it,” Bullen said, adding that “the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music.”
The producer also mentioned that the references to female nominees like Bassett, Davis and Jamie Lee Curtis were included “because it’s been a great year for women in film, and we wanted to celebrate that,” adding of DeBose, “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.”
DeBose – who won an Oscar last year for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake – doesn’t seem to be too ruffled herself though, Twitter deactivation notwithstanding. Under a popular Instagram post rounding up some of the most amusing memes generated from her BAFTAs performance, the actress commented on Monday, “Honestly I love this.”
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