Brit Award 2016 organisers respond to the ongoing debate over #BritsSoWhite after Big Narstie recently brought up the debate on diversity during a Channel 4 News segment.
When #BritsSoWhite first emerged on Twitter, Brit Award bosses remained silent on the issue. However, the ongoing debate, that closely echoes #OscarsSoWhite, has resulted in the organisers issuing a formal statement on plans to introduce new initiatives in order to make the annual ceremony more diverse. Controversy was sparked back in January when it was revealed that no black or ethnic minorities were up for UK awards and that after growing success, grime artists have been ignored. The only non-white nominees were in the international artist categories; however it was Justin Bieber, Bjork and Impala who took home awards.
Big Narstie, an English rapper also known for his work as an internet personality, told Channel 4 News, “Years ago when I was making music, I was sending it off to radio stations and getting told it was too urban. But what else am I supposed to make? I come from Brixton. None of my friends go to places like Selfridges. I’m a regular at the pound shop! So what am I supposed to impress you with?”
Other artists such as Craig David, Stormzy and singer Laura Mvulva have also expressed their frustrations. Craig David told Mirror Celebs, “Some genres of music aren’t represented and this year it happened to be grime.” Debates on Twitter highlighted that the awards reflected chart success; however rapper Stormzy, who received a MOBO Award, reached number 8 in the 2015 Official Charts with his song ‘Shut Up’. Artists Krept and Konan, Skepta and Lethal Bizzle also received chart success, but were not put forward for a nomination.
Brit bosses recently explained to Stormzy that his song ‘Shut Up’ had missed the deadline by a week. They went on to say in their statement, first issued to The Mirror, “There are no individual awards for specific genres however, and since only a small number of BRITs are awarded every year, the artists who are honoured tend to be those who have achieved the very highest levels of chart success. “Given the rapidly changing landscape of music consumption, it may now be time to take a fresh look at the metrics around the BRIT Awards to ensure they reflect the full range of engagement with recorded music.”