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Ariana DeBose’s ‘Angela Bassett’ BAFTA rap, explained End-shutdown




The thing in question.
Photo: BBC

Here at Vulture we would like to take a moment to thank the children of the theater of the world. Because without his fearsome and dedicated earnestness, we as a society would lack so much beautiful content. The children of the theater gave us the first season of happinessthey gave us an archetype to describe the Anne Hathaway vibe, and they gave us the crack in Jan’s face after losing Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical on drag race season 12. Most recently, theater kid and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose gave us her BAFTA opening number, and for that we’re grateful.

The 76th BAFTA Awards took place on February 19 at the Royal Festival Hall in London. They were hosted by Richard E. Grant and Alison Hammond, but the opening number was performed by Ariana DeBose. DeBose’s performance was a tribute to the women nominees and included covers of Aretha Franklin and Eurythmics’ “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” and Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” Between songs, DeBose took the time to make a posthamilton rap tribute to the female nominees of the night — “Angela Bassett did the thing / Viola Davis, my woman king.” It was special. It went viral almost immediately. Below is the opening performance of the BAFTAs, the response and the response to the response.

Because in the pure style of the children of the theater, he gave us something so serious but so bad that it is again pure camp. In her essay “Notes on Camp,” Susan Sontag writes that “Camp is an art that sets itself up seriously, but cannot take itself seriously enough because it is ‘too much’.” it is certainly too much. Even his Broadway lung capacity is maxed out by the time the rap begins with “Category Is: Featured Debut.” The rap itself isn’t exactly full of bars, with lines like “Jamie Lee, you’re all of us!” which, while true, has nothing to do with his hot dog-handed character in Everything everywhere at once. As the Disastrous 1989 Oscars opening number or John Travolta saying “Adele Dazeem”, the contrast between the earnestness of awards shows and the unintentional failure of a big swing is the kind of inadvertent campout that can legitimately be considered “iconic”.

Since the performance, Broadway musical director Benjamin Rauhala posted a video of DeBose rehearsing and going over the rap lyrics, complicating the comedy. There’s something beautiful about learning that the line reads went as planned… only more breathless. We shrug and smile.

And so should the rest of humanity! For one, DeBose’s performance is more muddled here, with her breathlessness leading to breathy syllables and an odd, almost melodic reading of the name “Angela Bassett.” His high-pitched dance moves, specifically the finger flick, are just as compelling, though not necessarily well-suited to the song. (Who cares?) So, though, the idea of ​​Bassett standing out just for getting things done is compelling in its own right. “Without irony, ‘Angela Bassett Did The Thing’ is probably the best awards narrative distillation of her there is,” wrote one Twitter user.

It’s the earnestness of a heartfelt tribute to the underappreciated women of cinema met with dedicated but completely wrong acting that makes this opening ever more compelling to a Twitter audience praising these queens and relishing the awkwardness they don’t. desired. It’s naively bad in a way awards shows rarely pull off. In other words, yes, memes abounded:

Both BAFTA and DeBose herself gave a version of a response. DeBose he deleted his twitter account after the performance went viral, though he later commented “Honestly, I love this” on a meme carousel. posted by Evan Ross Katz on Instagram. DeBose later appeared on BBC Radio 2’s “The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show” and discussed acting in a conversation to be broadcast on February 27. he daily mail posted a preview on February 23, in which DeBose says the goal was to celebrate women. “And we did that and it was fun, I’m not going to lie. I had a great time. So amazing,” she reflects positively. “Baz Luhrmann came and found me, and he said, ‘No, I think you’re great, that was fun. I had fun, and I was like, WERK. That’s a win, guys. And apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it. So that’s good. I’m taking it!” Most recently, on February 25, she posted a roundup of her favorite memes, including shoutouts from Lizzo and Adele on Instagram. “The internet is wild! I appreciate all the love,” DeBose captioned.

BAFTA producer Nick Bullen called the “backlash” “incredibly unfair”, in Variety. “I loved it,” she said. “Everybody I’ve talked to that was in the room loved it. She’s a huge star, she was amazing. The songs that she was singing are very familiar songs, the room was clapping and people were dancing to the music. That rap section in the middle, which mentions the women in the room, was because it’s been a great year for women in film and we wanted to celebrate. And here is a woman of color who is at the absolute top of her game. And he’s opening the BAFTAs with a song that says a lot on so many levels.” However, the discomfort of the performance is actually more intense when viewed through the diversity filter: the show would continue to have only white winners. “I think A lot of people don’t like the change, and there’s a view that the BAFTAs have to be this slightly stiff traditional British message of Middle England,” Bullen added.

I feel sorry for those people, but we, and many others on social media, buy it. “Camp taste turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment,” Sontag later writes in “Notes on Camp.” “What it does is offer for art (and life) a different, complementary set of standards.” And by our standards, the performance is spot on.

This post has been updated.

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