A bigger, more diverse voting body will help choose the winners.

Earlier this year, Brit Awards chairman Ged Doherty pledged to address the criticisms that last year’s awards were dominated by white acts, after a backlash against the lack of diversity among the nominations prompted the viral #BritsSoWhite hashtag.

Doherty has honoured his pledge with the announcement of a new voting system for next year’s awards. The voting body will bring in 700 new members, adjusting the male to female ratio from 70:30 down to 52:48 and sourcing 17% of the new members from BAME backgrounds, making it the most diverse voting body in Brits history.

The voting academy is broken down by the different sections of the music industry, from musicians and producers to labels and publishers, with the head of each category suggesting new members each year. This year, the British Phonographic Industry – the body that oversees the Brits – stipulated that recommendation lists had to be 50:50 male and female with a minimum of 15% BAME nominees.

Doherty, who is also the chairman of the BPI, said that he had wanted to “shake up” the academy since taking on the role two years ago, but admitted that criticism from artists like Stormzy – who recorded a ‘One Take Freestyle’ in response to the lack of black artists nominated last year – had been “a catalyst to get a move on with it faster.”

The shake up has been praised Kanya King, founder of the Mobo awards, who said: “I am delighted, congratulate and thank the BPI for responding to feedback and improving diversity on their Brit awards voting panel. This is a really positive move forward.”

Earlier this year, Doherty penned an open letter promising to establish an advisory committee including black and minority members. He later appointed a 25-person panel of black and Asian figures -which included grime DJs and producers – co-chaired by Paulette Long OBE and Kwame Kwate, to dissect the academy’s voting structures, membership, and award categories. [via the Guardian]

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