The Brit Awards has abolished gender by scrapping male and female categories for its ‘woke’ 2022 event.
Event organisers sparked outrage by switching to gender-neutral gongs for the first time in its history.
Bosses claimed the drastic move was in a bid ‘to be as inclusive and as relevant as possible’ and allowed people to enter who do not identify as a man or woman.
But fans blasted the change as ‘woke drivel’, with many calling for a boycott of next year’s show.
All change: The Brit Awards have scrapped male and female categories ahead of their ‘woke’ 2022 ceremony in order to ‘celebrate artists solely for their music and work’
The Brits’ ‘woke’ 2022 awards will include:
- Artist of the Year with YouTube Music
- Group of the Year
- BRITs Rising Star supported by BBC Radio 1
- Best New Artist
- Song of the Year with Mastercard
- Mastercard Album of the Year
- International Artist of the Year
- International Group of the Year
- Alternative/Rock Act
- Pop/R&B Act
- Dance Act
- Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act
The Brit Awards 2022 will see contenders battle for artist of the year instead of male solo artist and female solo artist.
Best international artist of the year will be used in replace of best international female, or male solo artist.
The 2022 ceremony will feature four new awards, which will all be decided by public vote – alternative/rock act; hip hop/grime/rap act; dance act and pop/R’n’B act.
Meanwhile the song of the year prize will recognise the featured artists, rather than just the lead artists or named collaborators.
The changes come after singer Sam Smith – who identifies as non-binary – put organisers under pressure to scrap male and female categories earlier this year.
The three-time winner wrote online: ‘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.’
This was slapped down by event planners at the time because it risked ‘being counterproductive to diversity and equality’.
Popstar Sam Smith, who won the critics’ choice prize in 2014 and identifies as non-binary, using the pronouns they/them, has previously called for the move (Pictured at the 2020 event)
Dua Lipa poses in the media room with the Mastercard Album award for Future Nostalgia and the Female Solo Artist award during The BRIT Awards 2021
But in a huge volte-face today, Brit chair Tom March announced the dumping of the long-established category names.
He said: ‘It is important that The Brits continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible.
‘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 2022 show is shaping up really well, Mo is going to be an excellent host and I am thankful to him along with Clara and Maya for being part of this year’s Brits.’
Fans and commentators were livid with the changes, with former MEP Christina Jordan said: ‘So long Brit Awards. It’s been nice knowing you. Good luck.’
The Brits voting academy is made up of around 1,200 music industry experts across media, artists, labels, publishers, promoters, retailers and more.
Meanwhile the awards will be hosted by Mo Gilligan in replace of fellow comedian Jack Whitehall.
Gilligan said: ‘It’s an absolute privilege to host the 2022 Brit Awards. I’m truly honoured to be asked.
‘We’re already in the extensive planning stages and all I can say is, I promise we’re going to give it all we’ve got to create an incredible night for music fans everywhere. Let’s go!’
The nominations show The Brits Are Coming will be hosted by Clara Amfo and Maya Jama, who will also host the red carpet show.
Jama said: ‘I am so excited to be back on presenting duties for the BRITs 2022! I remember watching the show growing up and still can’t quite believe I get to be a part of it.
‘The BRITs Are Coming’ TV special on ITV has always been one of my favourite shows, it’s such a big celebration, everyone is on top form and I love seeing so many of my favourite people within the music industry come together for such an incredible night.’
Amfo added: ‘It is such an honour and pleasure to be part of The BRITs presenting team for 2022.
‘The spirit of celebration from the artists to the viewers is really special and I’m so excited for everyone to see more memories being made on the red carpet and stage in February!’
The Brit Awards 2022 will air on ITV on February 8 live from the 02 Arena in London.