Acts hit out at lack of R&B representation at BRIT Awards

Artists questioned why R&B was grouped with pop into one category

Numerous artists have criticised the BRIT Awards for the lack of representation of R&B amongst the nominees.

The nominees for this year’s awards were revealed yesterday (January 12), with Cat Burns, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and Sam Smith all up for the Best Pop/R&B category. R&B has also been overlooked in other non-genre specific categories.

Mahalia was one of the artists calling out the BRITs for its lack of recognition given to R&B. “Forget putting us in this category. Give us our own!!!!! How many times do we have to scream at you? @BRITs,” she tweeted.

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She added: “Winning awards isn’t the reason why we make and release music. We do this shit out of love. But, at this point, it’s nothing short of disrespectful.”

Tiana Major9 also shared her frustration on social media, sharing the Pop/R&B Act announcement with the caption: “Are you purposely trying to antagonise R&B artists?”

MNEK also shared his thoughts on the news. “OK this is silly now. We get it. UK industry doesn’t know what to do with R&B,” he tweeted. “But there’s enough R&B/hiphop artists to have their own category at LEAST. Bellah, Tiana Major 9, Jack James, FLO, None of these artists (ESPECIALLY @catburns) is making R&B music.”

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He continued: “It’s whack cos the gen pop will think cos Cat is black, she’s R&B. I also think it’s whack cos the category would still be valid if the “R&B” wasn’t added, BPI could do with explaining the need for this in the award title. Cos, it’s not like the people haven’t spoken!”

The awards faced similar criticism last year when the category of Best Pop/R&B Artist was introduced for the first time in response to calls for gender-neutral categories to be implemented.

In addition, there has also been a backlash against the absence of women in the Artist Of The Year category. A spokesperson for the BRITs acknowledged that the lack of women in the category was “disappointing”, but added that: “We also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high profile women artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.

“These trends based around the release schedule are a feature of the music industry, but if, over time, a pattern emerges, then this puts the onus on the industry to deal with this important issue – and the BPI is already carrying out a major study to identify barriers that may inhibit more women becoming successful in music, so that there can be solutions that result in meaningful change.”

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