Ariana DeBose “did the thing” at the BAFTAs, and everyone should calm down about it.
That’s essentially what Variety’s Nick Bullen, a producer for the London-based awards show, said in a Q&A published Monday, the morning after DeBose’s rap honouring the female nominees at Sunday’s ceremony elicited jeers and trolling on social media.
During the show, the Oscar winner for “West Side Story” performed a musical number that included a brief rap shouting out female acting nominees by name.
“Angela Bassett did it,” she said, rapping. “Viola Davis, you’re my ‘Woman King,’ Blanchett Cate, you’re a genius, Jamie Lee, you’re all of us,” she says.
The rap has gotten a lot of attention on Twitter, where fans have noticed DeBose’s account appears to be deactivated. Many people criticised her performance, saying she was out of breath and the lyrics were “cringeworthy.”
“ariana debose you’re an oscar winner you don’t have to do this I promise,” @aramnotagoat wrote alongside a rap clip.
Bullen said he “absolutely loved” DeBose’s performance and called any criticism of him “incredibly unfair, to be honest.”
“Everyone I’ve talked to who was in the room loved it. She’s a huge celebrity. She was incredible “He stated. “People in the room were clapping and dancing to the music. Because it’s been a great year for women in film, we wanted to celebrate with a rap section in the middle mentioning the women in the room. And here is a woman of colour who is at the pinnacle of her profession.”
“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,” he added.
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Many people took to Twitter to express their delight at DeBose’s performance.
“Are people TALKING about the BAFTA Awards?!” @aguirreryan commented. “Ariana DeBose should be given a RAISE and a PROMOTION.”
“When Angela Bassett wins the Oscar, she must begin her speech with the words ‘and in the words of ariana debose, I did the thing.'” Murtada Elfadl, a culture writer and critic, wrote.
“I hope Ariana Debose isn’t in too much pain,” author Bolu Babalola wrote. “This is on its way to becoming a camp cultural artefact (sic), and I mean that.”