The 2020 Awards season hasn’t been shy to stay away from diversity. Last week’s BAFTA Awards included all-white and mostly all male nominations. The BRIT Awards have now released their list of nominees for this year’s ceremony and you can’t help but ask, “where are all the women?”.
The four main categories are open to both male and female artists; Best Group, Song of the Year, Mastercard Album of the Year and Best New Artist. With a total of 26 nominees across these categories, only 4 are women. The ‘Best Group’ category and BRIT Awards most prestigious category ‘Mastercard Album of the Year’ feature no female nominees. Last year’s ceremony also saw similar results with Best Group, Best Breakthrough Act and Best Album all awarded to male artists.
The BRIT Awards are no stranger to public outcry. In 2016 #BritsSoWhite trended worldwide after failing to nominate a single black person in any of the major categories. They then went on to make the most diverse voting academy in Brit history with a 52% male and 48% female makeup with 17% from BAME backgrounds.
The artist must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for a BRIT nomination. To be a nominee of the Best New Artist and Best Album category you must have at least 2 Top 20 Singles or an album in the top 10 of the Top 40. The 10 nominated songs in the Song of the Year category have all been Top 10 in the charts showing that perhaps the bias isn’t coming from the voting academy but from the music industry as a whole. So what’s keeping female artists from reaching the top spots in the charts?
When looking over Dr Stacy L Smith’s Inclusion in the Recording Studio study, we can see that over a period of 7 years there was an over 5% decrease of female artists in popular music. Record labels are still very male dominated which prevents women from wanting to sign and music festivals are still not inviting women to perform on the same stages as men, as reflected in this year’s Wireless Festival line-up.
However, on a more positive note, this year’s BRIT Awards shows respect and appreciation to black artists by nominating Stormzy, who last year called out Theresa May during his performance, Dave, who recently won an Ivor Novello Award and previously UK banned artist Tyler, The Creator.