Ariana DeBose’s Strange Rap At The BAFTAs Has A Lot Of People Reciting ‘Angela Bassett Did The Thing’

The BAFTAs — or the British Academy Film Awards, basically the U.K.’s Oscars — don’t tend to make news across the pond. But the 76th edition sure did. No, it wasn’t because Austin Butler beat out Colin Farrell for Best Actor, or that Cate Blanchett scooped up yet another trophy for Tár. It was the opening number, which featured Ariana DeBose, who won for West Side Story the previous year.

It started innocently enough. DeBose sang a medley featuring songs like “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” and “We Are Family.” Then she transitioned into an original song: a rap namechecking all the women nominated for acting awards: Hong Chau, Dolly de Leon, Kerry Condon, Carey Mulligan, etc.

Eventually, though, DeBose started saying more than their names. By the time she got to Angela Bassett and Viola Davis, things were officially off the rails. “Angela Bassett did the thing/Viola Davis, my Woman King,” she rapped. (The “thing,” for those not in the know, was act in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which could very well nab her an Oscar next month.)

The performance left people with mixed, contradictory feelings.

Others were confused.

Or horrified.

Some dwelled on awkward reactions from those namechecked.

Others pleased with DeBose — a very talented Oscar-winner who was fantastic in West Side Story — to stop.

Many singled out the Angela Bassett/Viola Davis bit.

Some couldn’t stop watching it.

After DeBose’s performance went viral, and not in a good way, Variety reached out to Nick Bullen, the BAFTAs award producer, who defended the number, which he said DeBose had put together herself.

“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, and what Ariana did was exactly that,” Bullen said. “I think a lot of people don’t like change, and there’s a view that the BAFTAs have to be this slightly stiff, traditional British, middle-England messaging. But 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.”

Well, anyway, judge for yourself!

(Via Variety)