Ariana DeBose has responded to various memes following her viral rap performance at the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards.
The actor, best known for starring in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, performed an original song at the ceremony that name-checked various Best Actress nominees including Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh. After the performance was widely mocked online, DeBose deactivated her Twitter account.
On her Instagram account, which has remained active, DeBose has responded to various memes about the performance. In a post which refers to the line “Angela Bassett did the thing”, DeBose commented: “Honestly I love this.”
DeBose also responded to a fan on her Instagram Stories, who wrote “I hope she does the thing” over a picture of her upcoming show at the London Palladium. With a laughing emoji, she shared the post and wrote: “Get tickets & find out.”
Music director Benjamin Rauhala recently shared backstage footage on TikTok showing DeBose rehearsing her BAFTAs performance. “Backstage with Ariana, getting ready to do the thing,” the caption read.
Following the performance, BAFTA producer Nick Bullen called the online criticism “incredibly unfair”.
Speaking to Variety, Bullen said: “I absolutely loved it. Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it. She’s a huge star, she was amazing. The songs she was singing are very familiar songs, the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music.
“That rap section in the middle, mentioning the women in the room, was because it’s been a great year for women in film, and we wanted to celebrate that. And here is a woman of colour who is at the absolute top of her game. And she’s opening the BAFTAs with a song that said so much on so many levels.
“All of those mentions, I felt, from the moment we were rehearsing it right through to the transmission last night, spoke to what we wanted to do.”
DeBose won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 2021’s West Side Story. She’s set to star in upcoming superhero film Kraven The Hunter alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, which is scheduled to be released later this year.