Music | November 24, 2021 10:51 am

The Brit Awards Opt for Gender-Neutral Categories

The pop music show is the latest ceremony to scrap separate male and female categories

Regard and Raye are interviewed in the media room during The BRIT Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena on May 11, 2021 in London, England. The Brits just did away with gender-specific categories for several major awards.
Some Brit awards will no longer be divided into gender categories.
JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty Images

The Brit Awards will switch over to gender-neutral designations in several major categories, as organizers for the show announced this week. Britain’s pop music ceremony will no longer differentiate between male and female performers for Best Solo and Best International Artist.

Part of the chnage can be credited to Sam Smith, who is non-binary and missed out on a nomination this year (in the recent past, Smith has had nearly a dozen nominations and three wins). “I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in,” Smith wrote in a now-deleted social media post, as reported by BBC. “Let’s celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”

“It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender,” said Brits chair and Polydor Records co-president Tom March in a statement.

As well, several new categories will debut at the next Brits ceremony, which takes place on February 8, 2022: Alternative/rock act, hip-hop/grime/rap act, dance act and pop/R’n’B act, all of which will be voted on by the public.

The Brits aren’t the first awards show to get rid of male/female designations; the MTV Movie Awards combined prizes for Best Artist starting in 2017, while the Grammys merged several categories in 2012, including best pop vocal, country vocal and R&B vocal performances. As BBC notes, the awards in those categories have been pretty much split 50/50 between male and female performers since the changes.

Speaking of the Grammys, the 2022 nominations — which now sees ten nominees in the top categories — arrived today with a nice balance of acts and the usual questionable nominations (ABBA for best record?).