Duke of Sussex defends Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent performance

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

The Duke of Sussex has defended the dance troupe Diversity over their performance on Britain’s Got Talent which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, he said he had spoken to group member Ashley Banjo after the routine aired on TV.

The performance, which aired last month, sparked around 24,500 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

In a video interview alongside the Duchess of Sussex, which was recorded from their home in the US, Harry said: “We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain’s Got Talent situation.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex book
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“And that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will be controversial, but the reality of it is he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display.”

The routine saw a dancer playing a white police officer kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in US, while others performed with police riot shields.

As Banjo lay on the floor while the police officer handcuffed him, other dancers crowded around with smartphones as if to film and take photos of the incident.

ITV Gala 2016 – London
Ashley Banjo (Ian West/PA)

The routine also saw the dance troupe take a knee, in protest against racism and police brutality.

Harry added they “had such a good chat with Ashley”.

“He was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction,” he said.

He added that the number of complaints was a “real surprise”.

Ofcom previously said it will not investigate the routine, saying it does not consider the performance to be racist.

It concluded that the dance, which it said was “symbolic of recent global events”, did not raise issues which warranted investigation under its broadcasting rules.

Harry added: “I am very glad Ofcom made the decision that they did but that in itself kind of proves how much this conversation needs to continue.”