Ariana DeBose Quit Twitter After Her BAFTAs Rap Went Viral

At this point, embarrassing viral clips from awards shows are a staple of the season. Unfortunately, the latest viral moment centers on Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose, who deactivated her Twitter account after an opening musical number she performed at this year’s BAFTAs became the subject of countless memes.

To kick off the iconic British awards ceremony, DeBose performed a rap paying tribute to “all the ladies in the room,” during which she name-dropped all the female nominees.

“Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis my Woman King, Blanchett Cate you’re a genius, Jamie Lee you are all of us,” the 32-year-old sang breathlessly as the camera panned to each of the women, whose reactions varied wildly, from Ana de Armas’ complete boredom to Viola Davis supportively bobbing her head to the music. The power of live television!

It reminded me of a… slightly less successful version of the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. dedicating a musical number to queer people’s love of Laura Dern at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards (you can watch it here and thank me later).

Sadly, the general public did not take as kindly to DeBose’s rap, which has since become a dreaded Twitter subject of the day. At least some of the memes were good!

Rather than dropping “Angela Bassett did the thing” merch or turning the entire thing into a TikTok sound, DeBose deleted her Twitter account. And while I applaud anyone who steps away from Elon Musk’s bird app, I can’t imagine reduced screen time was the primary driving factor behind the deactivation. 

Even the BAFTAs themselves are speaking out about the rap. The morning after the show, BAFTA awards producer Nick Bullen defended DeBose’s performance in an interview with Variety, insisting that “everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it” and that “the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music.” 

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“That rap section in the middle, mentioning the women in the room, was because it’s been a great year for women in film, and we wanted to celebrate that,” he said. “She had an amazing team around her, and she and her team put the whole piece together.”

I would argue that “sort of dancing” stings worse than any terminally online tweet out there, but alas! Hopefully, DeBose will be able to make it back to Twitter once the whole rap has faded into a vaguely campy memory. And in her defense, Angela Bassett truly did the thing.

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