Artists including Craig David and Skepta have welcomed the increase in diversity at this year’s Brit Awards.
Last year, the awards were heavily criticised after BAME musicians were absent from all but the international categories, leading to calls for a boycott.
In response to the #BritsSoWhite backlash, organisers promised to overhaul the voting system by improving the representation of both women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Following the changes, there are over 20 nominations for BAME artists at this year’s awards. Craig David, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka and Skepta have all been nominated for the best British male category alongside David Bowie.
Nao, Emile Sande and Lianne La Havas are nominated for best British female, while Stormzy, who called the awards “embarrassing” last year for ignoring grime artists, has been shortlisted for best British breakthrough.
Craig David welcomed the number of R&B and grime artists nominated this year, telling BBC News: “What they’re doing for British music is pivotal, and it’s moving a whole scene forward.”
Skepta echoed his sentiments on Instagram, saying that he seconded his manager Grace Ladoja’s comments, who wrote in a post: “They have to accept us as equals… They have to accept there is a new blueprint in music.”
They have to accept us. They have to accept our anarchist attitude. They have to accept that we don't give a f**k. They have to accept our blood, sweat and tears. They have to accept our outsider authenticity. They have to accept our independence. They have to accept our no days off. They have to accept our unbreakable bond. They have to accept us as equals. They have to accept we are happy every single day. They have to accept there is a new blueprint in music
Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Nao said this year’s nominations were a better reflection of British music.
“The one thing about Britain is how amazingly diverse it is. We are all in this melting pot together,” she said. “Music is made by everyone and it’s for everyone. Put all of us on the stage, black, white, fat, skinny, whatever.”
Kiwanuka, who is also up for British album of the year, said “this is a dream come true and the increase in diversity is a great thing.”
However, Laura Mvula, who boycotted last year’s Brits, was snubbed for an award despite releasing her well-received second album The Dreaming Room in 2016, which was shortlisted for a Mercury Prize.
The winners will be announced at the awards show on February 22. See the full list of nominees here.