Tonight the 2015 Brit Awards will be broadcast live on our screens but already one thing is glaringly obvious – the lack of diversity among the nominees.
Among the nominees for the British Breakthrough Act in particular it seems surprising that FKA Twigs is the only BAME artist being considered for the award. Kwabs, MNEK and Ella Eyre, for example, seem worthy candidates for the accolade.
Similarly, the British Male Solo Artist category is made up wholly of white artists. Again, the omission of Kwabs, in particular, from the nominees seems an unfair omission.
Thankfully George The Poet’s incredible talent has not been overlooked and he has been nominated for the Critics’ Choice Award.
British Group again presents a category filled entirely with white nominees. With groups like Rudimental and Neon Jungle having put out some great music over the past year and making waves internationally with their music, again the lack of BAME artists from this category seems a major oversight.
Speaking about the clear lack of diversity, pop group and nominees Clean Bandit, have said that the dominance of "white boys" in the major categories is "a bit weird and a problem". Band member Neil Amin-Smith described the dominance of white artists in the main categories as “bizarre” He added, “I think there is something that needs talking about there."
International Male Solo is the most diverse category, featuring John Legend and Pharrell Williams as nominees. So what does this mean? Are there, proportionately, far fewer minority music artists in the UK than in the US? Do BME artists contribute less to the music scene in the UK than in the US? Are BME musicians less responsible for innovations in music occurring here in the UK than their white counterparts? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no and therefore, the Brit Awards should look to the Grammys as an example in how to celebrate diversity in music and different genres.
What does it matter anyway?
The Brit Awards are the most prestigious music ceremony held here in the UK and offer great exposure to mainstream audiences for new, upcoming artists. Therefore, the lack of diversity of the awards means that many British BME artists are being denied the coverage and popularity that they deserve and which would greatly help them establish themselves as successful recording artists both here in the UK and internationally.
The Brit Awards will be televised live tonight at 8pm on ITV1.