BRIT Awards 2022 announce gender-neutral best artist category

In a historic move, the BRIT Awards have decided to remove the best male and best female categories in favour of a gender-neutral best artist award for 2022.

Colourful stage from a BRIT Awards concert - BRIT Awards 2022
Image: David Jones from Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In a groundbreaking move, the organisers of the BRIT Awards have announced that they will be removing the traditionally gendered categories of the best male and best female artists from the 2022 ceremony, in favour of a gender-neutral best artist award.

In a statement on the BRIT Awards’ website, they say the move is a way of “celebrating artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them”. They go on to say, the move is “part of The BRITs’ commitment to evolving the show to be as inclusive and as relevant as possible.”

According to ITV BRIT chairperson and co-president of Polydor Records Tom March, said, “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.

“I’m really excited to launch four new genre awards, which create even more opportunities for artists to be acknowledged for the brilliant music they create and produce, and give music fans the chance to get involved and vote to support their artists and help them to win a Brit.”

The move follows increasing pressure from gender non-conforming artists to recognise the value of their work, not their gender.

Earlier this year, singer Sam Smith publicly spoke out about being excluded from the awards after coming out as non-binary. 

In a post on Instagram, which has since been deleted they said,” The BRITs have been an important part of my career, one of my earliest achievements was winning critics’ choice in 2014.

“Music for me has always been about unification not division. I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”

Whilst the Grammys have been gender-neutral since 2012, other award ceremonies had resisted changing until earlier this year when Australia’s ARIA Music Awards undertook the decision to remove gendered awards replacing them with the best artist category instead.

 The BRIT Awards announcement hopefully signals a welcome trend within the music industry and one which the television and film industry may one day follow.

The BRIT Awards 2022 will be hosted by stand-up comedian Mo Gilligan and will take place on February 2022. 

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