Getty Images for BAFTA

Angela Bassett and Ariana DeBose did the thing!

On Sunday (19 February), DeBose memorably went viral online after opening the BAFTA Awards with a musical number, featuring a rap verse that praised acting nominees such as Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Her instantly iconic delivery of the line “Angela Bassett did the thing”, in celebration of the star’s acclaimed performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, became the internet’s latest obsession, spawning meme after meme.

The response led to DeBose deactivating her Twitter, with BAFTAs producer Nick Bullen issuing a statement to Variety in defence of the performance, which was “loved” by everyone “who was in the room”.

“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,” he told the publication.

“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.”

Although many have assumed DeBose was upset with the reaction online, she recently shared her love for the memes.

Under a post from journalist and author Evan Ross-Katz, which included several memes alongside his own caption “Babe, wake up, Angela Bassett did the thing,” DeBose commented: “Honestly I love this.”

Last year, DeBose memorably made history as the first queer woman of color to receive an Academy Award in an acting category. She won for her lauded performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s musical West Side Story.

DeBose currently stars as Emcee in Apple TV’s musical comedy Schmigadoon! and has been confirmed to appear in the upcoming sci-fi thriller I.S.S, as well as Matthew Vaughan’s spy film Argylle.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Evan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz)