2023 NAACP Image Awards: Angela Bassett References Ariana DeBose's BAFTAs Rap in Acceptance Speech

The award-winner accepted her trophy for Entertainer of the Year with a call out to DeBose's viral rap.

Ariana DeBose's now-infamous rap performance at the 2023 BAFTA Awards has officially come full circle. During Saturday night's 54th NAACP Image Awards, the breakout star of DeBose's viral rap, Angela Bassett, proved she knows how to carry a joke while accepting her Entertainer of the Year award onstage.

"I guess Angela Bassett did the thing," she quipped to the audience's laugher.

The reference is to DeBose's opening for the 2023 BAFTA Awards, in which she performed "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves" and "We Are Family," and the infamous original rap where she shouted out the awards show's female nominees. 

“Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis my 'Woman King,' Blanchett Cate you're a genius, Jamie Lee you are all of us,” sang DeBose. The camera panned to the women as they were name-dropped. 

Memes quickly made their rounds on social media among a wide range of responses, which seemingly led DeBose to deactivate her Twitter account. But on Instagram DeBose reacted graciously, commenting on a carousel of memes with, "Honestly I love this."

In a preview for an upcoming interview on BBC Radio 2's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show posted on TikTok, the West Side Story star brushed away the criticism and focused on the love she's received. Ball's among DeBose's fans who loved the performance, said: "it was a woman, singing and dancing, being magnificent, celebrating women onstage."

"You know what, you might be one of the few [who loved the performance]," DeBose said. "I'll take it, because you're my people!"

DeBose shared a bit about how the performance came about, saying, "Honestly, it's not like I'm like, 'Hey BAFTA, let me in.' They actually called me, believe it or not. But that was the assignment. Like, 'Come celebrate women,' and I was like, 'Absolutely!' We did that and it was fun. Not gonna lie. I had a blast."

She added, "And apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it. So that’s good. I’ll take it."

Bassett told Variety on Saturday that she reached out to DeBose in the aftermath to check in on her.

"I DM'd her last night. I did. It was beautiful," Bassett said. "I just wanted to make sure she was okay because, you know, it's a lot of attention. And she is A-Okay."