Jamie Lee Curtis Defends Ariana DeBose’s BAFTAs Rap: ‘I’m Unclear as to What the F*ck People Are on About’

"To me it was joyous, celebratory, sisterly, hot, spicy… and she’s just so incredibly talented," Curtis said of DeBose's viral performance.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Ariana DeBose
Jamie Lee Curtis and Ariana DeBose
Getty Images

Jamie Lee Curtis was all of us when she heaped praise on Ariana DeBose’s viral rap at last weekends BAFTA Film Awards. The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Oscar nominee joined Angela Bassett in defending DeBose’s performance, which saw her playfully shouting out many of the legendary actresses in the room who are competing for Oscars this season. While some initial reactions were mixed, the bit quickly went viral and has been referenced in performances by some of the biggest names in music.

Speaking to Deadline on the PGA Awards red carpet on Saturday night, Curtis praised DeBose’s performance — and did not mince words when voicing her disagreements with DeBose’s critics.

“I’m unclear as to what the fuck people are on about. To me it was joyous, celebratory, sisterly, hot, spicy… and she’s just so incredibly talented,” Curtis said, before explaining that some of the shocked expressions on people in the room were the result of cameras being too close to their faces rather than objections to the performance. “By the time it got to me, I was into the music and I was having a great time. She’s a fantastic talent, these people should shut the fuck up, back the fuck off, and let this woman just shine her light. Because she is fantastic.”

The positive reactions from Bassett and Curtis are just the latest pieces of evidence that the cultural tides have turned in favor of DeBose’s performance, despite some initial online mockery. In an interview shortly after the show, BAFTAs producer Nick Bullen cited the segment as an example of the kind of positive changes that award shows need to make to stay relevant with younger audiences.

“The social media presence was incredibly important to us,” he said. “The messaging to younger people was important to us. The messaging to the diverse groups around Britain was important to us. We wanted to get the message out there that this is a show for everybody. And I think some people don’t like that change, but you know what? You need to get with it because changes are coming.”

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