AceShowbiz - Ariana DeBose is speaking out. The "West Side Story" star has defended her controversial opening performance at the 2023 BAFTA Awards after it was labeled "cringe" and "awkward" by viewers.
The 32-year-old actress spoke to Zoe Ball on her Radio 2 "Breakfast Show", via Daily Mail, and poked fun at the backlash by saying the host was "one of the few" who loved her rap performance. She also said that she was contacted by BAFTAs bosses asking her to open the ceremony with a special performance.
In the interview, which will be broadcast on Monday, February 27, the Oscar winner explained that she was told her performance would "celebrate women." She went on adding that she "had a blast" despite viewers' negative reaction.
Prior to this, Ariana turned to Instagram to comment on her much-derided opening performance for the first time since the event. Responding to a meme of her performance, she wrote, "Honestly I love this."
During the BAFTAs, Ariana covered the Eurythmics' "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" and Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" but eventually inserted her own rap in which she name-dropped the British award show's female nominees, including Ho-Yeon Jung, Dolly De Leon, Kerry Condon, Carey Mulligan, Emma Thompson, Ana De Armas, Danielle Deadwyler, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis.
"All the ladies in the room/ supporting and leading all here, I presume/ Ho-Yeon Jung, Dolly De/ Kerry and Carey with a C/ Dame Emma, I'm so fond/ Ana, girl, you're great in 'Blonde'/ Danielle D, you broke my heart/ Michelle, I've loved you from the start," Ariana rapped. "Angela Bassett did the thing/ Viola Davis my 'Woman King'/ Blanchett Cate, you're a genius/ Jamie Lee you are all of us."
Shortly after the maligned performance sparked online controversy, Ariana deactivated her Twitter account but left her Instagram up and running and used it to post a cryptic message. "Babygirl [sic], in a world full of choices, choose yourself," the post read.