Angela Bassett Responds To Ariana DeBose’s BAFTA Rap During NAACP Image Awards Speech

Angela Bassett joins in on the enjoyment. The 64-year-old actress won entertainer of the year at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, and when she ascended the stage to take the medal, she made a reference to a phrase from Ariana DeBose’s popular rap from the 2023 BAFTA Awards.

“I guess Angela Bassett did the thing,” joked the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actress.  In other parts of her speech, Bassett honoured John Singleton, Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X, and Ryan Coogler. She then revealed that “gratitude is the universe’s way of saying we are not existing in this world alone,” according to Deadline.

Bassett didn’t just mention DeBose’s performance in his acceptance speech either. On the NAACP Image Awards red carpet, the actress revealed to Variety that she DM’d the 32-year-old actress not long after her BAFTAs moment went viral. “It was beautiful, it was beautiful, it was beautiful,” Bassett said. “I just wanted to make sure she was okay, you know? Because it’s a lot of attention.”
At the London-based awards show last Sunday, Oscar-winning West Side Story actress DeBose opened the show by performing a rap celebrating this year’s female nominees, saying lines like, “Angela Bassett did the thing / Viola Davis, my Woman King / Blanchett, Cate, you’re a genius / And Jamie Lee, you are all of us.”
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DeBose later faced some ridicule and backlash about the performance on social media after, but a producer of the awards show said the routine was celebrated by members of the audience. As part of her showcase, DeBose also sang the songs “Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves” and “We Are Family.”

“I think it’s incredibly unfair, to be frank,” producer Nick Bullen told Variety. “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.”

DeBose has already spoken out over the reception to her viral rap, telling Zoe Ball in a clip from this week’s BBC Radio 2 Morning Show that the performance was a success  “blast.”


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“You know what, you might be one of the few,” DeBose said when Ball revealed she enjoyed the performance in a clip of the interview shared on TikTok Saturday. “I’ll take it, because you’re my people.”

Ball also called the performance a “woman singing and dancing, being magnificent celebrating women,” and, as DeBose revealed, that’s exactly what she “wanted to do.”

“Honestly, it’s not like I’m like, ‘Hey BAFTA, let me in!’ They actually called me, believe it or not,” DeBose said. “But that was the assignment. Like, ‘Come celebrate women,’ and I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ We did that and it was fun. Not gonna lie, I had a blast.”

Angela Bassett Responds To Ariana DeBose's BAFTA Rap

“[It was] so awesome, and then I spent the rest of the night, you know, cutting a rug. Which, is that something you say here? Cutting a rug with Emma Thompson,” she continued, referring to dancing with the actress. “It was fabulous. I had a great time.”

After the host and the actress agreed that Thompson “had the moves” as a dancer herself, DeBose shared that she had fans in attendance, including Baz Luhrmann. “He was like, ‘No, I think you’re great, that was fun. I had fun.’ And I was like, ‘work,’ ” she said. “That’s a win, you guys. And apparently, gay Twitter seemed to like it? So that’s good, I’ll take it. I told you, my people.”

In a video posted earlier this week on TikTok, Broadway music director Benjamin Rauhala showed DeBose practising the show’s now-famous opening number while getting her makeup done and a dress fitted.

“It was an honor to give love to all of these iconic women, and to get the party started! We are giggling at everyone who has our campy little number stuck in their heads,” Rauhala captioned the video.

“Thank you for the love, and the hilarious memes,” Rauhala added. “We had the BEST time putting this together for our friends at the BAFTAS. What a moment! She did the thing. .”

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