This year’s BRIT Awards have faced a backlash after the UK Artist Of The Year nomination category was filled with all male entrants.
Nominees for the upcoming awards in February were announced yesterday (January 12) and in the UK Artist Of The Year category, Central Cee, Fred Again.., George Ezra, Harry Styles and Stormzy were all nominated.
This is the second year that the awards have abandoned gender categories in favour of gender neutral ones, but when it was revealed that the UK Artist Of The Year category was all-male, the awards were criticised by fans and figures from across the entertainment industry.
“So the Brits introduced an Artist of the Year category as a gender-neutral replacement for Best Male and Best Female Artist category – but this year all five nominees are blokes,” musician Tim Burgess tweeted. “One step forward, three steps back.”
A Brits spokesperson said the lack of women in the category was “disappointing”. Speaking to HuffPost, they said: “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.”
You can see some more of the reaction to the news below:
The nominees for BRITs 2023 Artist of the Year in partnership with @YouTube Shorts are:
Watch The #BRITs 2023 on Saturday 11 Feb on @ITV and @ITVX pic.twitter.com/rl88jTkUVG
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) January 12, 2023
So The Brits introduced an Artist Of The Year category as a gender neutral replacement for Best Male and Best Female Artist category – but this year all five nominees are blokes 🤔 🤷♂️
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) January 12, 2023
One step forward, three steps back
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) January 12, 2023
Hey #BRITs No Self Esteem? No Little Simz? Did only men make good music last year? What gives? pic.twitter.com/4IcgAdGIvk
— Simon Smith 🍷 (@smithsimonMEN) January 12, 2023
This is a joke surely? No women? No @SELFESTEEM___ or @LittleSimz ?
— Fox Lane Books 🦊 (@foxlanebooks) January 12, 2023
Brit awards combining Best Male & Best Female into a single Artist Of The Year award then having all male nominees is a very award show thing to do.
— Barney Hunter (@Banananey) January 12, 2023
In an astonishing turn of events,"gender neutral" Brit awards have an all male nomination list for best artist of the year. Who could have expected this outcome from the deeply misogynist music industry embracing deeply misogynist gender identity theory? https://t.co/Bm7rR9DDAk
— Julie Haunted Womb (@lazyjoolz) January 12, 2023
Brit Awards 2023: Harry Styles leads all-male Artist of the Year nominations as female stars shut out – Who would have guessed this would happen? I mean, really we could never have predicted that. 🙄 #WomenBeingIgnored #WomenAreAngry https://t.co/oQ3B0oXsSl
— Anna Anna 💚🤍💜 🦕 (@annaannana1) January 13, 2023
The Brit Nominations are a joke.
How can you have a “best artist” category and completely disregard the great female artist we have???
Little Simz was snubbed, you couldn’t even get your girl Dua Lipa nominated?!! The Brits are the biggest joke.
— • saz • 🇲🇦🇲🇦 (@SaraMotie) January 12, 2023
every single nomination at the brits for artist of the year is a man? pic.twitter.com/yIU3ABoSbK
— Ruby Naldrett (@rubynaldrett) January 12, 2023
Elsewhere, Mahalia criticised the BRIT Awards for their lack of recognition of R&B artists, calling upon the awards to give R&B its own category instead of grouping it with pop.
Cat Burns, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and Sam Smith are all up for the Best Pop/R&B category.
Mahalia took to social media to question why R&B hasn’t been recognised enough in the category. In the first of a string of tweets, she said she was “desperately searching for the R&B act at the BRITs”, accompanied by a GIF of someone making binoculars with their hands. She later added, “I’m sorry but UK R&B right now is THRIVING”.
Another more frustrated tweet saw her tag the BRITs directly: “Forget putting us in this category. Give us our own!!!!! How many times do we have to scream at you? @BRITs.”
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.”
It’s not the first time that the choice to group pop and R&B into one category has been criticised – the move was widely questioned online after the new gender neutral categories were announced in late 2021.
Mahalia also lent her voice to the outcry at the time. “Putting pop and R&B in the same category is really nuts to me. And proves that the powers that be once again just do not get it,” she said. “I love the Brits. I have since I was a kid. But as an R&B singer/songwriter, this feels completely unprogressive to the whole UK R&B scene.”