Ashley Banjo’s wife has sent a powerful message to critics of Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent.
Francesca Banjo, who is also a dancer, published the post on Instagram in solidarity with her husband and his dance troupe.
Diversity’s routine on Saturday’s semi-final show heavily referenced the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
The routine was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and included Ashley being knelt on by a police officer.
It also featured a recital of the viral poem called The Great Realisation, by poet Tomfoolery, which is about the coronavirus pandemic.
By Monday it had attracted 1,121 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. That raised to 7,000 on Wednesday. Now that figure stands at more than 10,000.
Uploading four videos to her Insta post, which featured the entire routine, Francesca wrote: On Saturday @ashleybanjogram and @diversity_official performed this routine on @bgt, 11 years after winning the show.
“To call this a ‘dance routine’ is an understatement to say the least. This piece was a take on the unprecedented events of 2020, from Covid 19 to BLM, from clapping for carers as a nation to coming together in our own families and finding the light in the darkest of times.
“Some may find this uncomfortable, may feel it inappropriate, but shying away from issues is not going to bring about the change that is so long overdue.”
She then went on to express how proud she was of Ashley, and revealed that their young children would be watching the performance once they are old enough.
She continued: “Watching this I could not be prouder of my husband; Rose and Micah will watch this and when they are old enough to understand they will be proud that their Dad created something so poignant and used his voice to stand up for what is right.”
She ended it with the message: “We are one race, the human race.”
Diversity who won BGT 11 years ago, have been emotionally reacting to the news.
Jordan Banjo spoke about the criticism during his Kiss FM radio show with fellow dancer Perri Kiely on Wednesday.
He said: “Of course you get some critiques but normally it’s focused on the dance.
“But this one was different, it was really important, it was special to us. We are all about positivity and love and we got so much positivity and love back from this one.
“But we also got bombarded with messages and articles of horrible stuff about us, about our families, about how even now Diversity is not diverse enough because there’s only five white people in it.”
Jordan’s voice then began to crack as he continued: “I can’t speak for anyone else it’s sad, it’s sad, genuinely.
“I feel really anxious and worried saying something like black lives matter when that’s all we want man, love and positivity.
“No one is saying only black lives matter, as a son and as a dad, I look at Pel [Perri] and I just.. it’s all positivity and love, let’s keep it moving.”
Ashley shared a post which said: “I’m so grateful and overwhelmed by all of the love and support but also by the amount of conversation this performance has thrown up. 2020 has been such a historical year. One day we will look back and realise it was the start of real change…”
A spokesperson for ITV told the Mirror : “Diversity’s performance offered their take on the extraordinary events of 2020 opening up important topics of conversation.
“The show was compiled for a family audience.”