The 32-year-old “did the thing” ting kicked off the ceremony Sunday with a theatrical rendition of “Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves” and “We Are Family,” before she launched into an interesting rap song and dance honoring the night’s biggest female nominees.
Joined by a group of dancers, the Oscar winner shimmied and swayed her hips across the stage as she broke out a few bars praising stars like Angela Bassett and Viola Davis for their phenomenal work in the film industry.
In one part of the song, the actress rapped:
“Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis my ‘Woman King,’ Blanchett Cate you’re a genius, Jamie Lee you are all of us.”
The sentiment was felt by some folks, but as the camera panned toward a part of the crowd, a few attendees looked absolutely puzzled by Debose’s performance.
Social media users sound off about Ariana DeBose’s baffling BAFTA performance
After the show, social media lit up with discourse about the awkward moment, and a ton of people weren’t feeling Debose’s little number.
“Just awful. Not amazing at all,” wrote one Twitter user, while another person commented:
“Ariana DebBose’s BAFTA rap is a whole other level of the Oscar’s curse.”
Others however thought the performance was cringe-worthy in the best way possible.
A few fans of DeBose rushed in to defend the rap tribute like @KBlooooop who wrote that the BAFTAs should be cutting the actress a “cheque” for making the ceremony go viral and “relevant overnight.”
While a second user showered DeBose with praise, noting how her BAFTA, Oscar, and SAG awards shouldn’t be overshadowed by the award show fumble.
Others however have just been stuck on Debose’s “Angela Bassett did the thing” line.
BAFTA Producers Defend The Awkward Rap Interlude, Ariana DeBose Seemingly Responds To The Backlash
As the backlash began to spill across social media, BAFTA producer Nick Bullen stepped up to defend the opening number.
“I think it’s incredibly unfair, to be frank,” said producer Nick Bullen while speaking to Variety about the musical performance. “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.”
Bullen said that DeBose “worked with a great musical director and choreographer” to come up with the concept for the opening show. He believes that there were mixed reactions because “a lot of people don’t like change.”
“There’s a view that the BAFTAs have to be this slightly stiff, traditional British, middle-England messaging,” Bullen continued, adding that “American awards shows have much more razzmatazz, much more showbiz and perhaps a broader range of people being involved.”
“We felt we’re not about revolution, we’re about evolution. Let’s just evolve, let’s just move forward with some gentle changes that start to lay out the stall of what this show should be and where we should be with it.”
Following the performance, some fans noticed that DeBose deactivated her Twitter account. Many assumed she may have deleted the social media platform due to criticism about the rap interlude, but it appears that she’s in good spirits. The star, who won an Oscar last year for her role in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story popped up on Instagram Tuesday in the comment section of Evan Ross Katz’s page, after he rounded up some of the best memes from the hilarious performance.
“Honestly I love this,” she wrote.
What did you think of Ariana DeBose’s baffling BAFTA rap performance? Tell us in the comment section!
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