BRIT Awards change rules for 2024 after diversity row

BRIT Awards change rules for 2024 after diversity row

The organisers of the BRIT Awards have announced that they will be tweaking their rules for the 2024 instalment, following a row over diversity.

The structuring of the award ceremony faced criticism at the start of the year when it was revealed that no female artists had been shortlisted for the 2023 Best Artist award. This came following the 2021 merging of the Best Male and Best Female categories.

The winner of this year’s prize was pop icon Harry Styles, who also made a nod towards the perceived lack of fairness in the broader category – dedicating his speech to female artists including Rina Sawayama, Charli XCX, and Becky Hill, and acknowledging his “privilege”.

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Now, according to a new report by BBC News, it has been announced that the organisers of the BRITS will now increase the number of shortlisted artists for the Best Artist award. This sees an expansion from five to 10 nominees for the 2024 edition, in the hopes of creating a more balanced field.

The expanded shortlist will also apply to the Best International Artist category as of next year.

As well as broadening the number of nominees, the organisers have also confirmed that they will be introducing a new award category, dedicated solely to the R&B genre. This comes as the nominees from the R&B world were previously compiled into a broader Best Pop/R&B genre – meaning that they faced competition from some of the biggest mainstream pop stars including Sam Smith and Dua Lipa.

Speaking to the outlet, the new restructuring of BRITS categories was supported by BBC 1Xtra’s DJ Ace, who said that “right now is such a great time for R&B,” and artists from the genre deserve a fairer chance at winning an award.

Harry Styles accepts the award for best British Pop/R&B Act on stage during The BRIT Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on February 11, 2023 in London, England.
Harry Styles accepts the award for best British Pop/R&B Act on stage during The BRIT Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on February 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Singer Mahalia – who contested the joined pop/R&B category by wearing a coat with the words “Long Live R&B” painted on the back a this year’s ceremony – also shared her “pure happiness and pride” at the change.

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“For me, when the [combined] category got announced a couple of years ago, I was disappointed for the younger generation of R&B kids, who were going to think a Brit nomination was impossible,” she told BBC News. “I was kind of feeling that, too. If I’m in a longlist with all of these huge art pop artists, I don’t know how I’m going to shine through.”

To make up for the R&B artists who may have been overlooked this year due to the combined category, organisers have also said that for the 2024 edition there would be an eligibility period of 24 months (instead of the usual 12), meaning that those who went for the 2023 awards are still able to qualify.

“Obviously we were disappointed that no women were nominated for artist of the year in 2023,” Dr Jo Twist, CEO of awards organisers the BPI told the outlet, reflecting on the reasons behind the restructure. “So we reached out to people in the industry and expert groups to understand how we can improve this for this year, to make the Brits inclusive and reflective.”

The next instalment of the BRIT Awards ceremony will take place at London’s O2 Arena on March 2. The 2024 edition of the trophy has been designed by British visual artist Rachel Jones, who has hinted that the design will be “colourful and chaotic”.

In other BRIT Award news, earlier this year Sam Smith’s outfit at the red carpet event sparked upset with viewers, and over 100 Ofcom complaints were filed according to the broadcasting regulator.

After the ceremony, Charli XCX criticised the awards for their all-male Artist Of The Year shortlist – “I’ve heard a lot of chat about the fact there weren’t enough females in album cycle,” she wrote to a fan who asked her about her lack of nominations. “That’s why no one was nominated.”

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