'Diversity' British street dance troupe’s dance demonstrates how far we need to go

EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing, and Britain’s Got Talent are back.

Specifically, Britain’s Got talent opened with an electrifying performance from dance stars and series three winners Diversity.


Diversity British street dance troupe formed in 2007 and based in London are best known for winning the 3rd series of Britain's Got Talent in 2009, beating out Susan Boyle, in the live final.

Diversity consists of friends from London (Leytonstone and Dagenham) and Essex (Basildon), including four sets of siblings and eight other members. At the time they appeared on Britain's Got Talent, some were still at school or university, while others had jobs of their own.

Diversity in action on Britain's Got Talent last weekend. Image credit ITV/Daily Mirror

Today, motivated by the brutal murder of American George Floyd and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the troupe performed a spectacular routine that brilliantly told the story of the past few months.

In particular, it reflected the Black Lives Matter movement and for a few seconds, a man dressed as a police officer placed his knee on the lead dancer Ashley Banjo’s back. The group later “took the knee”, a now well-known expression of anti-racism and solidarity.


It was brilliant. The story then flowed onto coronavirus, weaving into a section remembering the many weeks the nation clapped for the NHS.

However, some many people didn’t like the routine.

Some were bothered by a racially diverse group of young people continuing to raise awareness of the issues of injustice and intolerance that they wrote to Ofcom (the broadcasting regulator) to complain. At the last count, more than 3,000 complaints had been received.


Might it be that the reason the routine was so important was because of people who continue to have a problem with racial equality and fairness?

Yet, the issues that George Floyd’s death shone a spotlight on haven’t gone away.


“Black Lives still need to matter as much as everyone else’s.

“I’d rather my children watch a dance routine with a serious message which included a brief scene of a man with a knee on his back, than watch a video of a police officer killing a man in real life by pressing with his knee into his neck for eight minutes until he died.


“I know the complaints will go up – the trickle is turning into a flood. But artists and performers need to continue to be bold. They need to continue to remind us that the world can be a dark place and that we do need to see change,” says Eva Simpson, one of the Diversity group.

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