Britain’s Got Talent fans were moved to tears on Saturday night as Diversity took to the stage with a raw performance inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Led by Ashley Banjo the former champions delivered a stunning showcase to remind viewers of the issue that took centre stage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic following the death of George Floyd.
The performance earned a flurry of responses from viewers who praised the group for depicting the serious issue.
Emotional: Britain’s Got Talent fans were moved to tears on Saturday night as Diversity took to the stage with a raw performance inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement
Ashley opened the performance by reciting a viral poem The Great Realisation by Tomfoolery, about the BLM movement and police brutality.
Dressed in riot gear, the dancer even had a policemen placing a hand over his throat while lying on the ground, played to the song I Can’t Breathe.
Speaking after the performance Ashley told MailOnline: ‘This performance is extremely special to me and the rest of Diversity. 2020 has been an incredible moment in history for both positive and negative reasons.
‘We wanted to use the platform we’ve been given to make our voices heard, express how the events of this year have made us feel and think about how we might look back on them in the future… We call it hindsight 2020.’
Raw: Led by Ashley Banjo the former champions delivered a stunning dance reminding viewers of another issue that took centre stage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
Serious: The BLM movement saw worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police
Changes: Ashley opened the performance by reciting a viral poem The Great Realisation by Tomfoolery about the BLM movement and police brutality
The performance also earned a thunderous response from fans who praised the group and BGT bosses for depicting the issue.
One wrote: ‘@Diversity_Tweet TAKE A BOW Amazing performance #BGT.’
Another penned: ‘Wow @Diversity_Tweet just wow! Such a powerful important message and done in such a perfect way!’
A third added: ‘That performance by @Diversity_Tweet was absolutely amazing well done very powerful @AshleyBanjo is phenomenal at pulling routines together.’
‘Wow that caught me in my emotions, trying not a cry,’ a viewer penned.
The Black Lives Matter movement returned to the spotlight in May after George was killed in police custody, leading to protests across the world and calls for the officers involved to be jailed for their crime.
The protests also shined a light on the ongoing issue of racism, with many stars ‘taking a knee’ in support of the movement.
Judge Ashley has stepped in for Simon Cowell after he was forced to miss the semi-finals due to a back injury.
Stunned: It earned a thunderous response from fans who praised the group and BGT bosses for depicting the issue
Simon was forced to pull out after breaking his back in a cycling accident, and after a six-hour operation has been recovering at home.
The music mogul has insisted producers have made the show the best it can be despite social distancing now being in place – and has even hinted he will indeed appear at the live final in October, despite being on bed rest.
Asked ahead of the show’s semi-finals whether he worried the 2020 series was a right off, he said: ‘Yeah, for a moment! But then I thought, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
‘I just thought that if we can talk to each other all over the world on something like Zoom then there must be a way for us to do the live shows.’
Dark: Dressed in riot gear, the dancer even had a policemen placing a hand over his throat while lying on the ground, played to the song I Can’t Breathe
Taking a knee: The group also took a knee during the moving performance, which made a huge impact on viewers
Filling in: Judge Ashley has stepped in for Simon Cowell on the BGT semi-finals after he was forced to miss the semi-finals due to a back injury
Simon underwent emergency surgery in America after the accident in Los Angeles earlier this month, and has been recovering after having a metal rod installed in his back.
This year marks the first time in BGT history that the semi-finals have been pre-recorded, and has also seen changes to the way acts will advance to the final.
Eight contestants will perform in each semi-final and the judges will choose one act to go through. The second finalist will then be chosen via public vote when the episode airs.
With safety concerns paramount, some acts will take part remotely via video link whilst others will perform in the TV studio – with the virtual audiences’ reactions then beamed into the studio on a giant screen.
The series will then culminate with the live final, in October, where one act will triumph as Britain’s Got Talent 2020 Champion and win the life-changing £250,000 prize plus a coveted role on The Royal Variety Performance.
Britain’s Got Talent continues on Saturday at 8pm on ITV.