Ashley Banjo will explore his own past and the civil rights movement in the UK in a special programme for Black History Month.
The Diversity dancer recently collected a Bafta for the group’s talked-about performance on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent last year, for a routine which saw a man in a police uniform kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, while other dancers carried riot shields.
The performance on September 5 last year sparked more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom, but the TV watchdog dismissed the complaints, concluding that the routine’s “central message was a call for social cohesion and unity”.
A year on from that moment, Banjo will embark on a journey of discovery into British history in a new programme for ITV and will reveal how race and racism have impacted his life and that of his family and friends.
He will meet civil rights leaders from modern history and hear first hand evidence on what it means to take a stand as they help him navigate his path as a champion for civil rights in the UK.
Also included in the series of ITV’s specially commissioned films for October’s Black History Month is Charlene White: Empire’s Child, in which the newsreader and Loose Women star uncovers the roots of her connection to the British Empire and investigates why so many black Britons are still fighting to be recognised as British.
White, whose father and uncle both served in the British armed forces, alongside many other black service men and women, will travel across Britain and Jamaica to investigate her own heritage and the relationship between the Empire and her family.
Meanwhile The Voice star Will.i.am will explore what it means to be black and British, in the country he calls his second home in one-hour documentary Will.i.am: The Blackprint.
The Black Eyed Peas musician, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, first came to the UK more than 20 years ago.
He will embark on a quest to learn about the lives of black Brits, and compare and contrast the lived experience on both sides of the Atlantic, meeting civil rights heroes, technology trail blazers, inspiring schoolchildren and famous friends to learn about the milestone events that have helped shape the modern black British landscape.
The channel has also announced the return of game show Sorry, I Didn’t Know, hosted by Jimmy Akingbola, which will air in October on ITV and ITV Hub as part of the Black History Month celebrations.
Chizzy Akudolu and Judi Love will return as team leaders as they have their knowledge tested on untold stories and unsung heroes of black history.