Published On: Tue, Feb 18th, 2020

Brit Awards: Lack of female nominations is ‘absolute disgrace’ | Ents & Arts News


Critics and members of the music industry have criticised the Brit awards for the lack of female nominees in this year’s mixed gender categories.

The 2020 awards‘ shortlist has come under fire for all-male nominee lists in both the album of the year and group of the year categories.

American singer and dancer Normani is up for best song collaboration
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American singer and dancer Normani is up for best song collaboration

In the four categories open to male and female artists, there are just four female nominations.

These include best group, song of the year, album of the year and best new artist.

There are 25 nominations available across these categories – and in total only three women are recognised.

There were two for British singer-songwriter Mabel, who’s up for both best new artist and song of the year, and one each for Normani and Miley Cyrus for their best song collaborations.

British male rap duo D Block Europe, who are nominated for best group, told Sky News they think it’s harder for women in the industry.

Young Adz said: “It’s a man’s game. When you’re in all of these buildings, what’s the head of every label? What’s the CEO of every single label?

“I think the world would be a better place with more women.”

British rap duo D Block Europe are nominated for Brits best group
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British rap duo D Block Europe are nominated for Brits best group

Music Editor at The Guardian newspaper Ben Beaumont-Thomas, who’s a voting member of the Brits academy, told Sky News: “I think it’s an absolute disgrace that there’s so few women on this year’s shortlist.

“It really behoves the Brits to broaden its eligibility criteria, to bring in more women to be able to be nominated in the first place.

“As it stands, as a member of the Brits voting academy, I could only pick from 26 different women for the female artist of the year, whereas I could pick from 84 different men for the male equivalent category – so there’s a huge disparity there.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the Brit awards and the BPI, which represents the record industry, told Sky News they have made efforts to ensure diversity among nominees following the 2016 #BritsSoWhite controversy by changing the makeup of their voting academy.

He said: “We radically overhauled the academy so it’s 50:50 male and female and we have about 24% BME representation in the academy, because we want the academy to represent the country in making its choice.

Miley Cyrus at Glastonbury
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Miley Cyrus receives a Brit nod too

“They have this year decided that in certain categories there are more male nominees than female – in fact in the best album they’re all male this year – a surprise to us. But I think we have to respect the views of those academy members – it is an equal number of men and women that have made that choice and we need to respect the albums that they’ve nominated as being fantastic albums.”

He emphasised that it “doesn’t mean that the Brits doesn’t do everything that it can to try and make sure that there’s is great representation for everyone”.

Mr Taylor went on: “What’s important is that there is equal access to music. We’re very passionate about music education being available to everybody and we’re looking at the grassroots issues to ensure there’s enough women coming into the industry.”

To be eligible for a Brit nomination, an artist must have had success in the Top 40 charts in the previous 12 months, suggesting that the lack of female nominees is a wider issue with the music industry.

Only two British women made the Official Chats top 40 best-selling albums of 2019 – Jess Glynne and Dua Lipa, however neither album was eligible for the Brits as they were released in 2018 and 2017 respectively.

Meanwhile, female artists from the US seem to have better success with Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Pink all making it into the Official Charts top 25.

Dua Lipa said she was 'proud' of her fans. File pic
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Dua Lipa made it into the Official Chats top 40 best-selling albums of 2019

It’s likely to raise questions over the British music industry’s need to foster female talent.

Mr Beaumont-Thomas says they must take responsibility for the disparity, saying “women are being brought into positions of power across the board and that needs to happen in the music industry – the large major labels are still incredibly dominated by men.

“You need to have women in positions of power in those businesses to say, ‘We need more women making records and we need to champion women in this way.'”

Girli, a singer-songwriter from London, agrees the music industry needs to change.

Singer-songwriter Girli London, says the music industry needs to change
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Singer-songwriter Girli London, says the music industry needs to change

She told Sky News she has faced discrimination in the industry, and that “the issue is that the majority of people working at major record labels, major publishing companies and major live promotion companies are men, and when there’s a large amount of one kind of person working somewhere there is going to be less awareness and representation.”

However, she believes the problem extends further than the awards, saying “the Brits is a small part of a much bigger picture – the work that needs to be done is giving young women opportunities that aren’t there at the moment or are, but in small amounts.”

The 2020 BRIT Awards will air live on Tuesday 18 February on ITV at 8pm.



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