Diversity frontman Ashley Banjo has exclusively told Entertainment Daily about the hatred he is still experiencing following his Black Lives Matter dance on Britain’s Got Talent.
The dance took place on the ITV talent show back in September.
At the time Ashley and his Diversity bandmates were met with a barrage of criticism and complaints to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.
Ashley recently revealed the performance had caused “division” in his own family and now he has told ED! he’s still dealing with “hatred and trolling” as a result of the dance.
What did Ashley Banjo say about the BGT BLM backlash?
Level-headed as ever, Ashley told us: “It is what it is. Sometimes you’re going to push a button.”
He added: “It means a lot of people disagree but a lot of people agree. That’s the nature of having an opinion, especially about something so deep rooted.
“Obviously I didn’t expect exactly what happened but, you know, that’s life.”
Asked how he dealt with such hatred and trolling, Ashley revealed: “There was and there still is [hate and trolling].
“All I have to do now is look in a direction people don’t like and you get a wave of people at your neck. But it is what it is.
“All I can do is slightly separate myself from it and know at the end of the day that it isn’t real. Half of the accounts that talk to you aren’t even real.
“But I can’t stop people having an opinion and I think what keeps me level is I’ve got a lot of love and a lot of support.
“So as many people as there are who don’t like what I say and do, there are a lot of people that do. So I can’t let those people get to me. I have to sort of keep level and keep loving what I do,” he added.
Ashley reveals: ‘Criticism definitely bothers me’
As level-headed as he is, Ashley is the first to admit that criticism does get to him – especially when that criticism is wrapped in so much hatred.
“I feel like when people say it doesn’t bother you, it’s almost like a defence mechanism. Maybe criticism doesn’t bother some people, but criticism definitely bothers me.
“I’m pretty good at choosing what to take on board, though. So if someone criticises me, if I know it’s true and I know it’s something I want to change it definitely affects me and it’ll give me a kick up the [bleep] to go: ‘Right Ash, sort that out.’
“Criticism in that respect, I’m like fair enough. But criticism and hate and trolling and people being negative at you are actually different things. They appear the same but they’re actually different.
“So I don’t mind criticism but I obviously despise hate and trolling.”
Ashley is making his parents proud
ED! asks Ashley if his parents are proud of him and his efforts to change the world.
“I hope so,” he admits.
“My mum tells me she’s proud a lot, which never gets old and I could never hear it enough.
“Literally I love my mum and dad so much.
“They’re so deeply involved in Diversity, she is Diversity’s manager, she’s our tour manager, my mum is basically the original member of Diversity – she was my first dance teacher,” he revealed.
Keeping fit ‘helped me massively’
Ashley admits that dancing has most definitely been something that’s helped keep him sane during the past year of on and off lockdowns.
Ashley and the rest of the Diversity boys have recently teamed up with performance nutrition brand Grenade.
And, Ashley admitted, there’s never been a better time than now to look after your physical and mental health.
“I feel like a fit and healthy body goes in line with a fit and healthy mind. Even if you’re in a room with no equipment, one of the things you can do is keep yourself fit and healthy. You know, move,” he told us.
“It’s helped me massively. When I lost the ability to dance and perform as much [during lockdown] I just knew that I had to keep moving or I’d have gone insane.
“I feel like even though it sounds a bit cheesy, as a dancer your mind body connection is stronger because it’s what you do for a living.
“I just find that when I dance and I feel tired or I’ve had a stretch or my body feels knackered, it feels like I’ve achieved something in the day and I’ve put my mind at ease.
“When all of that energy gets pent up and I can’t get it out, it does get to me,” he added.
Diversity have partnered with performance nutrition brand, Grenade, to create explosive content throughout the year.
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