I’m a little late to this, even though I did see mentions of it crossing my Twitter timeline here and there this past week. Recently, on Britain’s Got Talent, a dance group called Diversity performed a Black Lives Matter dance and apparently that dance has received a record amount of complaints for being too political. I only just now watched that dance for the first time and it is a stunning performance.
I had a visceral reaction to this performance and I am still in tears while typing this.
Speaking of that performance, it also made me think of this performance at the BRIT awards earlier this year by a British rapper, whom I don’t know, called Dave. He too addressed Black Lives Matter in a very personal way…
I had a similar visceral reaction to that performance as well when I first saw it a few months ago and again just now as I re-watched it for this post. In fact, that performance sparked a whole discussion on the topic with my son a few months back, which was very valuable to me, and since then Black Lives Matter has come up in conversations with my kids regularly. I am so proud to hear them speak with such disgust of intolerance and how natural it is for them that black lives really do matter (and how much they hate the #alllivesmatter hashtags).
One of the things art is about is that it interprets reality to highlight an issue or feeling and make us as viewers understand and talk about it. These performances do that so achingly well. The pain of what it can feel like to be black in our society really hits home in these performances and I think everyone should just take a moment to stop and listen and then do better.
Thankfully I am just now reading that British media regulator Ofcom will not further investigate Diversity’s performance. They say: “Diversity’s performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity. Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.”
Bravo to Diversity and Dave for their heartfelt and stunning performances and may it help effect change!