In the summer of 2020 Ashley Banjo was thrust into the centre of the Black Lives Matter debate.
The pro equality routine performed by his group on ITV's Britain's Got Talent last year, one of the most complained about moments in OFCOM’s history, suddenly cast Ashley and his fellow dancers into the political spotlight, and at the centre of a vicious twitter pile on. The lines between entertainment, politics and history blurred.
A year on from that moment and having won a BAFTA as a recognition of the importance of it, Ashley is going on a journey into his own past and into British History to explore the roots of the reaction to his performance.
Ashley says: “ I didn’t set out to become an activist but somehow here I am. The first time I saw the George Floyd video, I was in bed, doing my sort of like morning Instagram scroll. I just sat there just gobsmacked at what I was seeing. I just saw my dad. We were consistently pulled over in our area as a family, you know, at least once every two weeks. It just sparked something in me. It just ignited something. It was at that moment, I was like, whatever happens, I'm going to speak up about this.”
Ashley talks to a wide range of contributors including: Actor David Harewood, Historian David Olusoga, fellow Britain’s Got Talent Judge Alesha Dixon, one of the UK’s most respected activists, Leila Hassan Howe and comedian Jim Davidson.
Part journey of discovery, part intimate biography, Ashley will reveal how race and racism have impacted upon his life and that of his family and friends. Crucially by meeting civil rights trailblazers from modern history, he will also try and understand what it means to take a stand. He’ll get first hand testimony of the perils, positives of taking a stand.
After the Diversity routine on Britain's Got Talent was aired, comedian Jim Davidson recorded content on his YouTube channel where he slammed the group for using the show platform to get their message across. Ashley meets up with Jim to talk about the issue.
Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black and White airs Tuesday 19th October at 9pm on ITV.