By recognising UK rap and women’s creativity, the Brits are finally in tune

Following criticism for being too white and too male, it seems the Brits have listened with this year’s wider-ranging nominees

If you want an example of the power of protest, or at least complaining to the media, then it’s worth casting your eye over the 2021 Brit nominations, and not merely because the Weeknd, who recently announced he would no longer enter his music for consideration in the Grammys after being snubbed at this year’s awards, is up for best international male.

Last year – 12 months after the 1975 gave an acceptance speech at the Brits that castigated the music industry for its sexism – the Brit nominations featured a grand total of one British female artist out of 25 available slots in mixed-gender categories. Understandably, people were unimpressed. Everyone from Foals to Paloma Faith mentioned it in their acceptance speeches, host Jack Whitehall made jokes about it, and nominees D-Block Europe, no one’s idea of painfully right-on conscious rappers, bemoaned that the music industry remained “a man’s game”. Even the Brits attempted to make excuses: clearly sensing imminent trouble, the nominations came accompanied by a press release that shifted blame on to record companies, who “had the opportunity to inform Brit Awards Ltd (BAL) of any eligible artists they wish to be added”.

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