The high-profile Brit Awards – the UK’s version of the Arias – has scrapped male and female categories to create a more “woke” music event that “celebrates artists solely for their music and work”.
This means that for next year’s televised red carpet ceremony, to be held in February, the award ceremony will dump their long-established gender-divided category names, Brit chairperson, Tom March, announced today, November 23.
The Daily Mail reports that March felt the time was “right” to salute the achievements of artists “for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender…”
This momentous change was sparked after Oscar-winning singer and songwriter Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary, put pressure on the event’s organisers to remove the gendered award categories earlier this year.
Brit Awards event organisers had previously shut down the suggestion because it risked “being counterproductive to diversity and equality”.
“Music for me has always been about unification, not division…I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in,” Smith wrote online in a now-deleted post.
Their announcement sparked outrage and divided opinions amongst the event’s organisers and fans alike, with many threatening to boycott next year’s show amid claims it was political correctness in overdrive.
“While we’ve always loved a bit of gender-bending, it’s silly to deny that the different categories reflected the fact women and men often have experiences that are as distinct as their voices,” Malcolm Clark, a TV producer and trustee of LG Alliance, a charity that advocates for lesbians, bisexuals and gay men, tells the Daily Mail.
— Josh Higgins (@joshjay1969) November 22, 2021
The Brit Award hierarchy don’t realise that they have now upset the majority in giving in to the minority. Another establishment with no backbone. Male and female artists will always be that. RIP Brit Awards #BritAwards
— John Moore (@JohnMoo99403726) November 22, 2021
From 2022, the award show will feature categories for Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year, rather than the Best Male or Best Female Solo Artist categories.
The Brits are also reintroducing the genre-based awards for the first time since 2006. These categories include alternative/rock, pop/R&B, dance and hip-hop, with winners chosen by fan votes rather than votes from music industry insiders.
The 42nd Brit Awards will take place in London on February 8, 2022 and will be hosted by comedian Mo Gilligan.