It seems that this year’s Oscars isn’t the only award show getting heat for their lack of diversity in nominations. This week saw UK singer Lily Allen express her frustrations with the Brit Awards and their “blindness to black British talent” via Facebook. The post, which has since been deleted, was responding to an article by The Guardian about the lack of black British music talent represented in the BRIT’s shortlists, with Lily suggesting that the main problem with the Brits is that industry figures “don’t necessarily care about music,” and that “they vote tactically for their label’s artists to win or so that their competitors at other labels DON’T.”
Personally naming Skepta, Stormzy, Jme, and Lady Leshurr as some of the talent that should have been nominated, Allen goes on to explain that these music industry figures don’t “even look at artists as artists when it comes to voting for these things”. As the artists she named are also independent, Allen also posed a theory into why they are not being recognised; “[They] are all unsigned artists, who would gain from them winning anything? In fact them being nominated or even winning poses a direct threat to ‘music industry figures’. Imagine Skepta or Stormzy won, who would they thank in their speeches, who’s ego would get massaged?”
Finally, Allen concludes with the idea that music industry figures will continue to “[throw] artists under the bus for personal gain” because “it’s not [only] a culture; it’s a religion.”
Earlier this year, Stormzy had also expressed his disappointment during an interview on Radio 1: “It was such a great year for grime and underground music… I thought maybe this year it might get celebrated […] You know when you’ve got that little bit of hope and that little bit of faith, and then they didn’t. I thought it was such a shame.” He also touched on the subject on his latest track “One Take“.
The 2016 Brit Awards will be held on February 24, 2016. Currently in the lead for nominations are Adele, James Bay, and Years and Years, with four nominations each. JME, Skepta, and Stormzy all had a productive 2015, with JME having released the critically acclaimed ‘Integrity>‘, and the latter two having dropped enormous and successful singles in “Shutdown” and “Shut Up” respectively.