Ariana DeBose has defended her performance at the 2023 British Academy Film Awards after viewers called it “awkward” and “painful”.
The West Side Story star, 32, said she was contacted by BAFTA bosses asking her to open the ceremony.
Speaking to Zoe Ball on her Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Ariana mocked the backlash by saying the presenter was “one of the few” who loved her performance.
In the interview, which will air on Monday, the Oscar winner explained she was told her performance would “celebrate women” and that she “had a lot of fun” despite backlash from viewers.
Ariana’s performance was meant to be an empowering rap about this year’s nominees, but her lyrics sparked an avalanche of negative comments on social media.
Breaking her silence: Ariana DeBose has defended her performance at the 2023 British Academy Film Awards after viewers called it “awkward” and “painful”
Oh darling! The Oscar winner’s performance drew criticism from viewers after it aired on Sunday, with many calling it “awkward” and “painful.”
Zoe told Ariana: ‘Can I just say, our listeners, we all loved your performance? And all that (reaction)… I don’t know what happened there?’
Clearly agreeing with the presenter, Ariana added: ‘You know what? You may be one of the few, but I will accept it… because you are my people!
Continuing to praise the performance, Zoe said, “She was a woman singing and dancing, being great at celebrating women on stage. Come on!’
The Hollywood star added: “That’s what I wanted to do…honestly…it’s not like I was like ‘Hey BAFTA…let me in.’ They actually called me believe it or not (laughs). But that was homework, like coming to celebrate women, and I was like “absolutely!”
‘And we did that and it was fun, I’m not going to lie, I had a great time. So awesome. And then I spent the rest of the night like ‘cutting a rug’ with Emma Thompson…it was fabulous…I had a great time.’
As Zoe noted: “She’s got the moves, doesn’t she?” Ariana added: ‘Oh, she does. Don’t sleep with Dame Emma…don’t!
“But Baz Lurhmann came and found me, and he said ‘no, I think you’re great, that was fun.’ I had fun and was like ‘WERK’… that’s a win guys. And apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it. So that’s good… I’ll take it!’
On Wednesday, Ariana issued her first public statement about her opening performance after it sparked a flurry of memes from stunned viewers.
Funny: Speaking to Zoe Ball on her Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Ariana mocked the backlash by saying the presenter was “one of the few” who loved her performance
Joking: On Wednesday, Ariana issued her first public statement about her opening performance after she sparked a flurry of memes from stunned viewers.
The apparent outrage prompted DeBose, with good intentions, to deactivate his Twitter account, but the star came back online after spotting a meme account dedicated to his notorious performance on Instagram.
Using one of the memorable lyrics from the performance, one meme features a shot of former US President George W. Bush being told about the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade by former Chief of Staff Andy Card. Center.
The image, perhaps one of the defining moments of the 2001 tragedy, is superimposed with the words: ‘Sir, Angela Bassett did it.’
In response to Tuesday’s light-hearted post, DeBose wrote: “Honestly, I love this.”
The performance began with a song joined by dancers ripping her skirt off in stunning scenes, before moving on to name checking members of the star-studded audience.
Racing fans took to Twitter to call the performance “painful” and “awkward” with one asking: “Why did this happen?”
However, later in the show, Little Simz wowed the audience with his ‘electrifying’ performance when he took the stage with Joan Arma trading.
Not impressed: Viewers were stunned after Ariana’s opening performance at the 76th EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday night
After Ariana’s performance, one viewer wrote: “I’m laughing my ass off at Ariana DeBose’s BAFTA song, why did this happen?”
With another addition: “Absolutely horrible, she wouldn’t get a single turn on (the talent show) The Voice.”
More writings agree: ‘It was horrible’ and ‘God-horrible’.
Another said: “I have a lot of time for celebrities who smiled charmingly and awkwardly during Ariana DeBose’s painful BAFTA rap.”
And: ‘Ariana DeBose doing a silly rap about women willing to do things. However, she is so professional (not more professional) that she hardly matters.
Cringe: Racing fans on Twitter praised the performance as “painful” and “awkward” with one asking, “Why did this happen?”
Painful to watch: Racing fans on Twitter praised the performance as “painful” and “awkward” with one asking: “Why did this happen?”
Little Simz then performed her single Heart On Fire before she was joined on guitar by music legend Joan Armatrading in a surprise appearance.
Fans raved about the duo writing: ‘Electrifying performance by Little Simz and Joan Armatrading’.
With another addition: ‘Little Simz and Joan Armatrading? I like it better that way! and ‘Joan Armatrading is a legend’.
With a fifth added: ‘Joan Armatrading playing the guitar and I’m immediately much more interested.
Tune in to hear the full interview on Monday 27 February on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 from 6:30-9:30am