Ashley Banjo has revealed that his controversial routine with Diversity on Britain's Got Talent last month has altered the direction of his life for the better.
The 32-year-old star and his dance troupe were subject to 24,500 Ofcom complaints after their performance touched on a range of subjects, including Black Lives Matter.
And while he has received relentless criticism for sharing the message on the hit ITV show, Ashley has told GQ Hype in a new interview it was the correct avenue to take, as many before him have spoken openly about issues that affected them.
Life-changing: Ashley Banjo has told GQ Hype that his controversial routine with Diversity on Britain's Got Talent last month has altered the direction of his life for the better
When he asked about criticism he received for sharing his stance on the show, Ashley responded: 'What is the right stage?
'I mean, like, it's the right stage to talk about, you know, personal loss or patriotism or to bring a beautiful story this year about a dog and the dog trade.
'We talk about climate change. Yet, if I bring 20 seconds of the idea of racism into performance, all of a sudden it's not the right stage? And you have to ask why, you know?
'Why can we talk about a multitude of other issues yet me as a creative and an artist, with something that has affected me, impacted me deeply and also been global news for the past month, I'm not allowed to talk about it? You have to kind of wonder why.'
Controversy: Diversity's dance last month sparked 24,500 complaints, but Ofcom have since announced they will not investigate any further
When asked whether the performance would change the direction of his life, the 2009 BGT winner said: 'It already has changed the direction of my life, if I'm being honest. I feel more life-affirmed. I feel more sure of myself as a person.
'And I also feel proud that we have become a bit of a symbol for something that I want to live up to.
'I want to be able to speak up – and not just about racism, not just about the idea of black lives mattering.'
The east London native also touched on the fact that Diversity's routine is often referred to as a 'Black Lives Matter performance', after it briefly featured a police officer kneeling on his neck, recalling the May death of George Floyd.
Range of subjects: The dance routine touched upon a number of subjects, including the invaluable work of the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic
He said: 'I'm proud for it to be [called that], but it's really interesting how you coined it our 'BLM performance', because it wasn't.
'What I find the most incredible thing about all of this is that the Black Lives Matter element of the routine is the part that stuck with people, which, like I said, I can't reiterate enough how much I'm proud of.
'But the performance itself was supposed to be a roundup of everything that we felt in the year; a summary of the things that have affected us, from lockdown to Covid to, you know, people standing out in the streets clapping the incredible NHS at 8pm on Thursdays.
'It was an idea of unity, the idea of hope. And obviously, as part of that routine, it would be impossible to ignore how much the Black Lives Matter movement,