BGT star Ashley Banjo ‘cut off his braids to be accepted’ on TV but insists ‘Britain isn’t racist’ despite complaints


ASHLEY Banjo revealed that he had to cut off his braids to be “accepted” on TV but insists that “Britain isn’t racist” despite Ofcom complaints.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 32, confessed that he shaved off his cornrows because he did not think he’d land a role hosting a prime-time show.

Ashley Banjo revealed that he cut off his own braids to be accepted

Ashley also admitted that despite receiving a “few thousand” complaints, it does not make Britain racist.

He told GQ: “I think I’m more optimistic about this country now. Even though the response has been mixed, to say the least, ITV’s response of standing with me and the group and then advertising that fact across the national press in the following days was massive.”

Diversity’s dance routine – which saw a police officer kneeling on Ashley –received 24,500 complaints, making it the most complained about show this year.

Ashley continued: “The majority of the country – messages, writing emails, letters – standing with us and saying, “Even if I didn’t understand, we’re willing to open our eyes and ears now”, that is huge. That is significant.”

The Diversity star said he does not believe Britain is racist despite a ‘few thousand’ complaints

 “So how can I feel negative about the country based on a few thousand people who are always going to exist?”

The dance star said that he accepts that some people may have felt that Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t the right platform for the performance.

He added: “A lot of people think that I have called the people who complained racist, or the people who didn’t like the performance racist. I mean, not only have I never said that, [but] it doesn’t make sense.

“You’re absolutely free to say that you don’t like something, or you feel that Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t the right platform, because it made you uncomfortable.”

Ashley said he has been flooded with kind messages and letters

Ashley also opened up about his personal battles when it came to finding fame, he said: “I even remember at one point I had cornrows, braids. And that was authentically me.

“But I remember thinking, “There’s no one else on TV with plaits like me. Can I see myself hosting prime-time BBC One like this? Maybe not.” I remember thinking, “I’m on the up, let me shave [them] off.”

Despite the backlash, the Black Lives Matter dance has been backed by the TV watchdog Ofcom.

The decision has upset some viewers, with one insisting: “We need a petition to get rid of Ofcom.”

Diversity’s BLM performance received more than 24,000 Ofcom complaints

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “We concluded that the programme did not raise issues which warranted investigation under our broadcasting rules.

“We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important.

“Diversity’s performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity.

“Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events.

The dance proved controversial with viewers who called it ‘political’

“There was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.”

It came after ITV said they were standing by the dance – and Britain’s Got Talent stand-in judge Ashley.

A spokesperson told HOAR Online: “Britain’s Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms.

“ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity’s performance on BGT.

ITV is standing by Britain’s Got Talent stand-in judge Ashley

“Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.”