Angela Bassett Reached Out to Ariana DeBose After Viral BAFTAs Rap: ‘I Wanted to Make Sure She Was OK’

"It was beautiful,” Bassett said of DeBose's performance. “I just wanted to make sure she was OK because, you know, it’s a lot of attention. And she is A-OK."
Angela Bassett and Ariana DeBose
Angela Bassett and Ariana DeBose
Getty Images

Angela Bassett indeed did the thing — which was, of course, following up with Ariana DeBose after the Oscar winner’s viral rap performance at last Sunday’s BAFTA Film Awards.

The musical number, which saw the Oscar-winner shouting out many of the female BAFTA nominees, has been referenced by the likes of Lizzo and Adele in live performances this week and referenced on social media by the likes of Halle Berry. DeBose’s playful references to the actors in the room — “Ana, girl, you were great in ‘Blonde,'” among others — has apparently delighted the subjects of her quips.

Speaking to Variety on the red carpet of the NAACP Image Awards — where she won both Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for “Wakanda Forever” and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for “9-1-1” — Bassett revealed that she had absolutely no problem with the shoutout. In fact, she contacted DeBose afterward to express her support after it went viral.

“I DM’d her last night. I did. It was beautiful,” Bassett said. “I just wanted to make sure she was OK because, you know, it’s a lot of attention. And she is A-OK.”

Bassett is far from the only fan of DeBose’s rapping. After the BAFTAs, the show’s producer Nick Bullen heaped praise on the performance, citing it as an example of the way that award shows can evolve to be more modern.

“I absolutely loved it,” he said. “Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it. She’s a huge star, she was amazing. The songs she was singing are very familiar songs, the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music. 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. And here is a woman of color who is at the absolute top of her game. And she’s opening the BAFTAs with a song that said so much on so many levels. All of those mentions, I felt, from the moment we were rehearsing it right through to the transmission last night, spoke to what we wanted to do.”

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