Tuesday, August 16News For London

More diversity in 2017, promises Brit Awards chairman

Next year’s edition of the Brit Awards will see more black and ethnic representation, Brits chairman Ged Doherty has said.

Ed Sheeran's performance at the Brit Awards 2015. Photo: Creative Commons License: www.flickr.com, David Jones
Ed Sheeran’s performance at the Brit Awards 2015. Photo: Creative Commons License: www.flickr.com, David Jones

Last week’s event received widespread criticism for failing to give black music its due recognition and for ignoring the achievements of black artists. The controversy even led to creation of the Oscar-style hashtag #BritsSoWhite, which was soon trending on social media.

Responding to the controversy, Doherty has written an open letter to the Guardian, in which he has promised to change the makeup of the 1,100-strong voting academy. At present, he suspects “ it is largely white and with a bias towards older men.”

The chairman has further promised to set up an advisory committee that will have far wider representation.

“We are making a further commitment by taking steps to ensure that, ahead of 2017, the voting academy will, wherever possible, have equal male-female representation and at least 15 per cent BAME participation, in line with national trends, as well as being more diverse with regard to age and regionality, so that it can be more truly representative of modern British music,” he stated in the letter.

Several artists voiced their protests about the skewed representation of Britain’s urban music scene at this year’s awards by boycotting the show.

Singer Laura Mvula cited the “diversity issue” as her reason for giving the Brits a skip this year. London-based rapper and MC Stormzy also released a song, One Take Freestyle, as a protest against the event’s intentional exclusion of musicians from emerging genres such as urban ‘grime’.

Doherty’s letter states that he is now considering how alternative metrics – such as social media – could be used to shortlist nominees, who have until now only been selected based on their Top 40 rankings.

Sub Editor: Sibusisiwe Ndlovu