Brit Awards to choose more nominees after row over gender-neutral categories

Following last year's backlash for no women being nominating for best artist, the Brit Awards has doubled the number of people who can be up for the coveted prize, as Rishi Davda explains

The 2024 Brit Awards will select more nominees for British and international artist of the year following a diversity row over the two gender-neutral categories.

The ceremony took the decision to scrap gendered categories for its 2022 show in a bid to be inclusive of non-binary artists.

This, however, led to backlash this year when no female artists were nominated for artist of the year, which went to Harry Styles.

The line-up for international artist of the year was more balanced, with Beyonce triumphing over Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Burna Boy and Kendrick Lamar.

However, concerns still remained that the glass ceiling had been pushed further for female performers in an attempt to be more inclusive.

As a result, next year's Brit Awards will see the number of nominees chosen for British and international artist of the year increase from five to 10.

Sam Smith Credit: PA

Views from equality, diversity and inclusion groups and the industry were heard and an internal discussion took place, the Brit Awards said, before changes were made.

Jo Twist, chief executive of the award's organisers, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), said: “The Brits is committed to making the show as inclusive and representative as possible, the changes to this year’s categories are part of an ongoing process of evolution, and we will continue to review, listen and learn.”

When the awards went gender-neutral for the first time in 2022, 18 female artists or all-women groups were nominated overall – the most in a decade – and this increased to 20 in 2023.

Despite this, the artist of the year category this year was made up entirely of men – Central Cee, Fred Again.., George Ezra, Styles and Stormzy.

Next year's ceremony will also see a separate prize for R&B artists – joining alternative/rock, dance, pop and hip hop/grime/rap in the individual genre categories.

YolanDa Brown, musician and BPI chairwoman, said: “British music is special, the secret ingredient is its rich diversity of genre bending sounds created by the most eclectic artists of all backgrounds.

“It was this that prompted the Brit Awards to introduce genre-based awards in 2022, and we are delighted to continue this with the addition of a new standalone R&B category to join the four other genres that we will celebrate in 2024. Our best wishes to all the artists who are eligible.”

Eligible potential nominees for the R&B prize need to have released music in the new category in a 24-month period, instead of the usual year-long timeframe, the Brit Awards said.

The design of the 2024 Brit Award has also been revealed, with British visual artist and painter Rachel Jones creating a colourful and "chaotic" design for the trophy.

The artist, who has exhibits at the Hayward Gallery in London, the Chisenhale Gallery, London, and the Long Museum in Shanghai, called designing the new trophy “a major legacy”.

“I feel like it’s my voice in the form of a trophy, it’s colourful and chaotic, and this was really important because all the other trophies were so distinctive, and you know immediately who made them," she said.

The Brit Awards will be held at the O2 Arena on Saturday March 2. The shortlisted three artists for the rising star award will be announced early next week.

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