Ariana DeBose's BAFTAs Opening Rap, Cringey or Celebratory?

The internet debates.


And the awards for the night's most viral moment goes to!...

Actress and Hamilton alum Ariana DeBose took to the BAFTA stage Sunday night to deliver the ceremony’s opening performance, where DeBose took a moment to shout-out the nominated actresses. DeBose, strutting the stage in hot pink, had the internet debating: was the performance purposefully campy fun or just plain hard-to-watch? 

“Angela Basset did the thing. Viola Davis, my woman king.” DeBose raps, slightly out of breath in the rap’s most quoted line. 

BAFTA awards producer Nick Bullen has some choice words for Ariana’s harshest critics.  “I think it’s incredibly unfair, to be frank. I absolutely loved it. Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it,” Bullen told Variety. Bullen shed some light on the behind-the-scenes, crediting DeBose for putting “ the whole piece together”. 

Some viewers loved the performance, applauding DeBose for praising actresses that don’t always get their flowers from Hollywood. The performance undoubtedly brought high-energy to the event, sometimes criticized for its “stuffiness”. 

Others found the performance plain awkward. Watching the Oscar-winner name-drop celebrities in the audience in a rushed, sometimes difficult to understand rap drew plenty of critics to Twitter. DeBose deleted her Instagram shortly after the viral heat. 

Bullen said DeBose’s performance was meant to start the awards out with a bang, saying “our brief from BAFTA and the BBC was they wanted the show to feel as though it had more energy, had more warmth, had a broader reach in terms of age range and diversity.” 

Whether the opening performance was touching or simply out-of-touch, the BAFTAs got their viral moment. Ariana, you did the thing. 

Up next, The BAFTA's Best Dressed List 2023