This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but just haven’t had the time. Better late than never though right? At the BRIT Awards I, like many others, thought the lack of diversity in terms of nominees was absolutely incredible. The biggest awards show in the UK consisted of an almost completely white nominees list. I could maybe understand if black artists weren’t doing enough to warrant being on the stage, but that simply was not the case.
I looked up how the awards show works when it comes to nominations, and this is how:
- The Official Charts Company decide which songs and albums are eligible
- Industry experts choose their top 5 in each applicable category
- The shortlist of nominees is compiled
If this is the case, then it’s incredible that Krept & Konan had the UK’s highest ever charting rap album on their debut, “The Long Way Home”, at number 2, only missing out on the top spot because of the titan that is Ed Sheeran reducing the price of his album, leading to more sales. Skepta and Little Simz cracking America, and being interviewed by none other than Rosenberg in the famous HOT 97 studio, with Skepta getting recognition from the likes of Drake, along with MOBO winners Section Boyz. Little Simz meanwhile made it to the Forbes 30 under 30 list and got co-signed by none other than Kendrick Lamar. Let us not forget that Stormzy even charted at number 8 with a bloody freestyle!
If these are not achievements worthy of at least a nomination then I don’t know what is. The same is evident in America with the Oscars. The likes of Will Smith and Idris Elba put in arguably Oscar worthy performances, more so Elba in my opinion, but once again, black actors were overlooked. I’m not suggesting that black people should be nominated all the time and winning all the time, but give credit where credit is due. Creed served almost as a reboot to the Rocky franchise, but while Sylvester Stallone got nominated for awards, the lead actor Michael B Jordan‘s nominations were nowhere to be seen.
It shouldn’t take a social media campaign and people boycotting these events for organisers and decision makers to realise the mistakes they are making. It’s the same thing every year. The BRIT Award organisers say that they take the issue of diversity “very seriously”, but all that does is make me question if the awards are going to diversify because they realise their mistakes or simply because they’re under pressure to?
Some people’s view is that instead of complaining about the lack of diversity at awards, people should create their own. That is why the MOBO’s were created, because people of colour rarely find themselves represented within the mainstream media. So to celebrate the diverse and rich musical history that black cultures have created, the MOBO’s were born. But even still, white people are nominated for and win MOBO’s, which is fine. But for example, Thornton Heath cleaned up at the awards, with Krept and Konan, Stormzy and Section Boyz all winning multiple awards, with Section Boyz even performing with Rita Ora. Instead of praising the winners and giving them a platform for the mainstream media to take notice, the next days papers printed a picture of Ella Eyre who won one award, and another of Rita Ora.
The mainstream media’s reluctance to include a culture that means so much, so many is disheartening. A newspaper needs to sell but stifling a community of music in the process is not the answer. If the BRITS were more diverse then maybe these urban stars would be more marketable to the mainstream press. The Oscars, the BRITS and the Grammy’s need to take a long hard look in the mirror, and make the necessary changes, not because of public pressure, but because for countries that claim to be moving away from racism, there are still a lot more steps to be taken than maybe first thought.
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