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BRIT awards under fire for selecting all-male nominees

In 2021, it was announced that the annual ceremony would be foregoing the gender split for its best artist category. This year, however, only men are in the running.

At a time when inclusivity is at the forefront of every conversation, you’d assume that companies, brands, and key industry players would think twice before publicly committing to an act of blatant discrimination.

Whether they’re initially ‘trying’ in an effort to safeguard their image or because they genuinely care is beside the point – in 2023 the mistakes that occur during this process can no longer be deemed a mere ‘slip up,’ no matter the excuse.

Alas, this is exactly what’s happened with this year’s BRIT awards. Exacerbated by the fact it made a song and a dance about working to remedy this very issue not 24 months ago.

Let’s rewind, shall we?

In 2021, best-selling artist Sam Smith was unfairly excluded from the event for being non-binary.

Following substantial backlash from both celebrities and the public, it was announced that the annual ceremony would be foregoing the gender split for its best artist category.

The move brought the Brits into line with the Grammy’s, which removed all gendered categories in 2012.

A statement on the Brits’ website read that the decision was about ‘celebrating artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify, or as others may see them, as part of the Brits’ commitment to evolving the show to be as inclusive and relevant as possible.’

This sounds good in theory, but today’s reality is starkly in contrast and, yet again, raises the pinkwashing alarm.

Why? Because last week, the upcoming nominees were revealed and – you guessed it – they’re all men. That’s right, out of the 70 stars who were eligible to be nominated for the prize, just 12 were female.

Cruelly snubbing a whole host of talented British women, the voting committee has shortlisted Stormzy, Harry Styles, and George Ezra (among others).

Despite how good their music is or how deserving they may be, an all-male roster most certainly isn’t very 2023 of the Brits now is it?

Not to mention that the album of the year category is also dominated by men, with Wet Leg the one and only female act out of contenders.

Mark Savage, BBC Music Correspondent, tweeted: ‘It’s a travesty that no female artists are up for best artist.’

He said this was ‘despite high-profile releases from the likes of Charli XCX and Florence + The Machine’ and added that ‘it’s a result which has undoubtedly caused concern at the BPI, which organises the ceremony.’

Unfortunately, there isn’t even a clear villain in this scenario to direct our frustrations towards, either.

The voting committee doesn’t comprise of rich, misogynistic, white men as you might imagine, rather an incredibly varied group of over 1,200 experts, across media, labels, publishers, promoters, and retailers.

This arguably makes the exclusion of non-male performers and their marginalisation through a supposedly progressive change all the more upsetting.

Ironically, critics had warned that the move could end up being detrimental towards women, with former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries saying the change appeared to be ‘quite a sad decision.’

On this note, what’s obvious is that regardless of progress, ‘mistakes’ are still being made and female and non-binary artists must continue to work twice as hard for half as much recognition.