Dance group Diversity have won praise for their powerful performance on Britain’s Got Talent inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The routine saw a white police officer kneel on star and temporary BGT judge Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, while other dancers performed with police riot shields.
The first half of the performance was set to spoken word poem The Great Realisation by Tomfoolery, which reflects on the coronavirus lockdown.
The narration then continued: “But while we all were hidden, under orders of the Prime Minister, people dusted off their instincts and noticed something more sinister.
“Another disease, deep rooted in our system, fear, hate and ignorance, but racism was the symptom.”
As Banjo lay on the floor while the police officer handcuffed him, other dancers crowded around with smartphones as if to film and take photos of the incident.
The narration continued: “What we thought we knew, some clearly didn’t. Black Lives Matter.”
The group, who won the talent show in 2009, then all took a knee before the song Black Lives Matter by Dax began, which features the lyrics: “I can’t breathe,” the last words uttered by Floyd.
Afterwards Banjo referred to the performance as a “remix” of the Tomfoolery poem.
He had hinted at the performance ahead of time, writing on Instagram: “Tonight is a big night… The First live semi final on the panel of @bgt and the first TV performance of the year for @diversity_official all in one moment.
“We only had 5 days to prepare, but we put our heart and soul into this one. I hope people are ready – We’ve got something to say.
Viewers rushed to praise the performance, with one writing on Twitter: “That wasn’t a proformace, it was art.
“@AshleyBanjo and @Diversity_Tweet literally gave me goosebumps the whole way through this. Powerful and strong.”
Another wrote: “that @Diversity_Tweet performance on #BritainsGotTalent gave me CHILLS. balling my eyes out.”
Another said: “Just when you think Diversity couldn’t set the bar any higher they go & pull something like that out the bag. 11 years on & they still feel so fresh & remain the best #BGT.”
Britain’s Got Talent continues on Saturdays on ITV at 8pm.