It turns out Angela Bassett reached out to Ariana DeBose following her viral 2023 BAFTA Awards opening number that took many viewers by surprise. In the quirky performance, DeBose gave lyrical shoutouts to her talented peers, including Bassett. Rapping “Angela Bassett did the thing,” the Hamilton actress’s showcase was quickly turned into a meme.
“I DM’d her last night. I did. It was beautiful,” Bassett shared with Variety’s senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson on the red carpet at the 2023 NAACP Awards on Saturday (Feb. 25).
“I did. It was beautiful, it was beautiful, it was beautiful. I just wanted to make sure she was OK because it’s a lot of attention, and she is A-OK.”
During an interview on BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, DeBose shared how she handled the critique and attention.
“Honestly, it’s not like I’m like, ‘Hey BAFTA, let me in.’ They actually called me, believe it or not,” she said. “But that was the assignment. Like, ‘Come celebrate women,’ and I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ We did that and it was fun. Not gonna lie. I had a blast.”
She continued, “And apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it. So that’s good. I’ll take it.”
BAFTA producer Nick Bullen explained his opinion that the commentary “is incredibly unfair, to be frank,” after DeBose deactivated her Twitter account.
“We wanted to open the show with some energy, some fun, and also lay out straight away that this was hopefully going to feel like a different night, but with a familiarity as well, and what Ariana did was exactly that.”