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When Ariana DeBose hosted February’s BAFTA Awards, she opened with a meme-generating performance that conquered the internet, with reactions ranging from cringe to double cringe. DeBose — who co-wrote the lyrics “Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis my Woman King, Blanchett Cate you’re a genius, Jamie Lee you are all of us” — seems to be having the last laugh … all the way to the bank.
The 32-year-old Oscar winner hit the London Palladium stage April 1 for a one-night engagement that saw her perform the ditty once again for a sold-out crowd along with covers of “Vogue,” “Ray of Light,” “Hand in My Pocket” and a mashup of “The Ladies Who Lunch” with “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
A Hollywood Reporter spy attended the show and forwarded pics of DeBose’s merch that included T-shirts, totes and posters emblazoned with the rap lyrics. (Images also surfaced on Twitter, seen below.) According to DeBose and a post from her musical director Benjamin Rahaula, proceeds from the sale of concert merch benefited Mermaids, a U.K.-based nonprofit that supports transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families since 1995.
On the heels of DeBose’s BAFTA outing, Jamie Lee Curtis, who was name-checked and nominated that night, defended the lyricist. “For me, it was joyous, celebratory, sisterly, hot, spicy, and she’s just so incredibly talented,” Curtis told Deadline. “She is a fantastic talent, these people should shut the fuck up, back the fuck off and let this woman shine just her light.”
DeBose brings her act to New York for another “Authenticity” concert at Lincoln Center on April 8. In an interview with Time Out to promote the Big Apple gig, DeBose was blunt: “I own every ounce of what that BAFTA rap is. I have fun with it in the show, so if you’re coming to have fun, you’ll enjoy it.”
Monday, April 10, 9:25 p.m.: Updated to include the merch’s charity partner.
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