Tuesday’s BRIT Awards seemingly pushed back against the androcentrism of the previous years, showcasing an overwhelming celebration of female talent.
Dua Lipa took home more awards than any other artist, receiving the top prize of best British album for her chart-topping ‘Future Nostalgia’. In addition to this, the platinum-selling artist won Best Female solo artist, beating competition such as Arlo Parks and Celeste. Additionally, the group Little Mix became the first female-only band to win the British Group award, which had never previously been given to any exclusively female group.
Indeed, the BRIT awards’ history has been previously tainted by a severe lack of female representation, with the preceding 2020 awards being widely criticised for a heavy bias that favoured male artists and groups. The solo artist Mabel was the only woman to be nominated for any of the 25 mixed-gender categories, highlighting an undeniable imbalance between the treatment of male and female artists. This year’s awards are seemingly a reaction to this, with more women than ever being nominated; six out of the seven of the winners of the mixed-gender categories being women. Alongside Taylor Swift, who became the first woman to win the global icon award, female artists such as Billie Elish won the international female and the rising star award which was won by Griff.
This female representation mirrors that of this year’s Grammys, which saw Billie Elish, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion and HER win the four top awards, reflecting the success of female artists this year. This comes as a welcome change for many female artists and for the industry which has previously been permeated by a severe lack of diversity, white male dominance, sexism and sexual harassment.
Not only did Lipa collect the most awards, but also called for Boris Johnson to approve a fair pay rise for the frontline NHS staff that navigated the pandemic when she made her acceptance speech. Addressing the 2,500 key workers that had been invited to attend the event and given free tickets to the show she stated that clapping for the NHS simply isn’t enough. Dedicating her double accolade for Best British Female Artist of the year to the nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Lipa asserted that respect and gratitude are not synonymous and that Boris Johnson should allocate a fair pay rise to the frontline. This comes at a time whereby the government is implementing a series of trial events, such as the previous week’s rave in Liverpool, with the BRITS ceremony being part of the same scheme, with the awards being monitored by scientists to trace any potential contamination.
Objectively, this year’s awards have been like none other, with a crowd of key workers being rewarded for their year of service just as the artists who received the trophies. The sentiment of each winner being allocated a double trophy so that they may give one to a member of the public as an act of kindness is also a new addition to the ceremony’s set up, but comes as a welcome change after the fallout of the past year.