Queen’s Brian May says Brits scrapping gendered award categories is an ‘ill-thought-out’ decision

Music awards show will no longer include male and female categories in a bid to be more inclusive

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 25 November 2021 10:05
Elton John and Years & Years perform 'It's a Sin' at BRIT awards 2021

Brian May has hit out at the Brit Awards over their “ill-thought-out” decision to get rid of gendered categories.

On Tuesday (23 November), the annual music awards show announced that their prizes would no longer be split into male and female categories, with the biggest awards of the night now being Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year.

In a statement announcing the change, the Brits said the move came to celebrate “artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them” and as a commitment to being “as inclusive and as relevant as possible”.

Speaking toThe Sun, Queen guitarist May claimed that decisions were being made “without a lot of thought” as a “knee-jerk” response to “woke cancel culture”.

“I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear, because people are so afraid of being called out,” May said, adding: “It is a horrible atmosphere.”

He continued: “I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences. Some of these things are improvements and some are not. Some of them are depriving people… A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone. I think some things need to go back.”

May then claimed that Queen wouldn’t have been considered “diverse” by 2021’s standards.

“I am sure if Queen started now we would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and a trans [person], but life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”

The Independent has contacted the Brits for comment.

The campaign to get rid of gendered categories had previously been amplified by musicians such as Sam Smith and Will Young, who said that it excludes non-binary musicians.

Smith, who is non-binary, did not submit their most recent album Love Goes for this year’s Brits as it did not fit into any of the gender-based categories.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in