Angela Bassett did the thing — and checked in on Ariana DeBose after viral BAFTAs rap

A woman with long black hair smiling in dangly earrings and a billowing white dress
Angela Bassett attends the 2023 NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

Count the one and only Angela Bassett among the many fans of Ariana DeBose’s viral BAFTAs rap.

While speaking with Variety on Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards, Bassett hailed DeBose’s buzzy homage to the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actor and other female nominees at this year’s British Academy Film Awards. Bassett also revealed that she sent a direct message to DeBose to check on her after her BAFTAs performance blew up on social media.

“I DMed her last night. I did,” Bassett told Variety on the NAACP Image Awards red carpet. “It was beautiful ... I just wanted to make sure she was OK ... because it’s a lot of attention. And she is A-OK.”


‘Angela Bassett did the thing,’ Ariana DeBose of ‘West Side Story’ rapped in a viral clip from this year’s British Academy Film Awards.

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For anyone who has been off the grid since last weekend, a clip of DeBose saluting the female BAFTA nominees in song has been widely memed, imitated, mocked and worshiped on social media — especially the part where the “West Side Story” actor shimmies and declares, “Angela Bassett did the thing.”

Shortly after the BAFTAs ceremony took place in London, DeBose deactivated her Twitter account amid all the fervor — which prompted one BAFTAs producer to publicly defend the Oscar winner’s opening medley.

While accepting the NAACP Image Award for entertainer of the year Saturday at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Bassett capitalized on the pop culture moment by beginning her speech with, “I guess Angela Bassett did the thing!”

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“When I think about my career ... there was often someone there who looked at me with open arms, assuring me that there was a place for me as an actor,” Bassett said.

“I’m deeply, deeply grateful. Gratitude is the universe’s way of saying that we are not existing in this world alone.”


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Saturday on Instagram, DeBose shared videos of Lizzo re-creating her “Angela Bassett did the thing” choreo at a recent concert and Adele saying “we did learn that Angela Bassett did the thing, didn’t we?” during her Las Vegas residency.

Underneath her post, a number of DeBose’s Hollywood peers showered her with supportive and encouraging comments.

“U an icon,” wrote “Tick, Tick ... Boom!” actor Vanessa Hudgens. “Truth Be Told” star Octavia Spencer added “We love you!!”

“The internet is wild y’all!” DeBose wrote in the caption. “Appreciate all the love.”