After dumping gendered categories last year, the BRIT Awards landed controversy for an all-male Artist of the Year shortlist this year.
It was another big night for Harry Styles at the BRIT Awards over the weekend. The former One Direction band member picked up four gongs, coming on the heels of his big Grammys night last weekend.
Styles landed all four BRIT Awards for which he was nominated (Pop/R&B Act, Song of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Mastercard Album of the Year). He won two of six nominations at the Grammys (Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year).
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His “Harry’s House” album was a controversial Album of the Year win at the Grammys, as was his comment, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” The singer came under fire for making that statement as a white male, a demographic that has dominated the category over the decades.
“I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight,” he said at the BRIT Awards, per Variety. He went on to acknowledge the big controversy of that ceremony, the all-male Artist of the Year shortlist. “So this is for Rina [Sawayama], Charli [XCX], Florence [+ the Machine], Mabel and Becky [Hill].”
Last year, the BRIT Awards did away with gendered categories, but it didn’t result in anything close to gender parity in one of the night’s biggest categories.
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Other categories did have women represented and there were female winners as well, including indie rock duo Wet Leg (Best New Artist and British Group), Becky Hill (Best Dance Act), Beyoncé (Best International Song and International Artist of the Year) and girl group Flo (Rising Star).
Styles also took the time to acknowledge his roots and thank some people without whom he wouldn’t even have a career, starting with his mother.
“I want to thank my mum for signing me up for ‘X Factor’ without telling me,” he said. “So I literally wouldn’t be here without you.”
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He went on to thank “Niall [Horan], Louis [Tomlinson], Liam [Payne] and Zayn [Malik] because I wouldn’t be here without you either.” Styles was put into One Direction with them on the reality competition show back in 2010.
They quickly went on to dominate the world, becoming one of the biggest boy bands in history before going on an indefinite hiatus in 2015. Subsequently, the five members have all pursued successful solo careers.
Other winners at the 2023 BRIT Awards were The 1975 (Best Rock/Alternative Act), David Guetta (Producer of the Year), and Kid Harpoon (Songwriter of the Year).