Will #BritsSoWhite be more colourful this year?

It’s award season again, and you know what that means…. Yes! It’s time for arguably the biggest award ceremony in the British music calendar – The Brit Awards.

Last year’s drama gave birth to the #BritsSoWhite hashtag. Following the barrage of complaints about last year’s awards ignoring Black British artists, Brits Chairman Ged Doherty, vowed to shake things up. The plan was to add more music influencers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to the 1,100 strong voting panel.

brit awards, music, british music

BRIT Award nominees 2016 via Channel 4 News screenshot

In his open letter, Ged Doherty, denied that there was any malicious bias but noted there is an institutional problem, resulting in the makeup of nominees not reflecting the current British music scene.

“We are therefore surveying its [voting panel] makeup, which, I suspect, is largely white and with a bias towards older men. This does not mean that there is an underlying prejudice at play, but the unintended consequence is that emerging genres of music may not be properly recognised.”

Diversity is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in recent years. Social media has made things so much more transparent. People, ideas, music, everything is a lot more accessible. When we all saw that impact various black British artists had on popular culture, but didn’t see that reflected in the 2016 awards, that was a problem!

 “The awards should, first and foremost, reward the very best and most popular British music, but the playing field for that judgment must also be even. Everyone, regardless of background, should have an equal opportunity to impress.

There is a second issue. Currently, to be nominated you must have achieved Top 40 success – but we must now go further. There are performers, including grime artists, who may not have achieved major chart success but who have attracted large followings, including through social media. This level of engagement is at present not part of Brits eligibility and this, perhaps more than any other factor, has caused the nominations to be seen as unrepresentative by some.”

brit-nomination

Along with sorting the ethnic imbalance, there were promises to level the gender gap, age and regional representation of the voting panel.

Capital FM, has listed all the things you need to know about the Brit Awards 2017. Most importantly, two dates to remember, check out the nominations on 14th January on ITV.  The BRIT Awards ceremony taking place on 22nd February 2017 at the O2 Arena.

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One comment

  • Surely an institutional problem that disadvantages minority groups despite it being an ‘unintended consequence’ is institutional racism. I’m glad that some attempt has been made to address it but I guess we will find out if it was just lip service soon enough.

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