Today, the Brit Awards is one of the most progressive awards shows, so why did they move backward? Events such as the Brits, the Grammys, or even the iHeart Radio Awards are all crucial pieces of pop cul- ture in the music industry, so during the spring of every year, fan bases are fighting to get their artist to the top.
It was just last year, in 2022, when The Brits announced that they would no longer have an award category for ‘Best Male Artist’ or ‘Best Female Artist’ but would instead take a note from the Grammy’s page and create a gender-neutral ‘Artist of the Year award instead. This created discontentment with more close-minded individuals but mainly caused a feeling of acceptance and inclusion towards non-binary and other gender-queer artists.
While this is a progressive move that this decade and the music industry desperately needed to see, the award show’s execution of this category during the 2023 award shows could have been better.
As people feared when the change was first announced, the Brit Award for ‘Artist of the Year’ was utterly dominated by men or male-presenting individuals. The nominees consisted of Stormzy, Harry Styles, George Ezra, Central Cee, and Fred Again, with Styles taking home the title amidst his 4-award sweep at this year’s program.
During his not-exactly-sober acceptance speech (made overly apparent when he thanked his ex-bandmates by name), he acknowledged the gender imbalance of the nominations. He stated: “I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight. So, this award is for Rina (Sawayama), Charli (XCX), Florence (Welch), Mabel, and Becky (Hill).” Each of these incredible women was eligible yet un-nominated for the award.
Some encourage giving it time, as this new method is only in its second year. Others are distressed that this is a dangerous slope back to the days when women in the music industry were consistently snubbed despite their talents. Only time will tell at this point, and the 2024 Brit Awards will either finally succeed in their gender-inclusive goal or fail to correct a longstanding issue.