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Sam Smith responds to backlash over male-dominated Brits Best Artist category

After a move to non-gendered categories at the music awards, no women have been nominated for Best Artist at this year’s Brits

Nicole Vassell
Sunday 22 January 2023 10:33 GMT
Sam Smith says Lady Gaga helped them come out as non-binary

Sam Smith has shared their “frustration” about the treatment of women at the Brit Awards.

The nominations for this year’s ceremony were revealed earlier this month. Since 2022, the Brits have not used gendered categories for their awards, and have instead combined the four male and female awards for UK and international artists into Best Artist and Best International Artist.

However, this year’s awards have been widely criticised after no female artists were nominated for Best Artist in 2023.

Instead, the accolade will go to Stormzy, Harry Styles, George Ezra, Fred Again or Central Cee.

Smith, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, was among the artists to initially call for the Brits to introduce gender-neutral categories. In 2021, they said that they “looked forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in”.

In a new intervew, Smith criticised the Brits for failing to nominate any women for Best Artist.

“It is a shame,” they told The Sunday Times. “Things are moving forward, but it’s obvious it’s not there yet. From seeing that [Best Artist] list, there is still a long way to go.”

After it was then noted that Little Mix were the first girl group to win Best Group at the Brits in 2021, Smith added that the awards needed to be more representative overall.

Sam Smith criticised the Brits for the lack of women on the Best Artist line-up (Getty Images)

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Smith said. “It feels like it should be easy to do. [The Brits] just have to celebrate everyone because this is not just about artists getting awards. Awards are for kids watching on TV, thinking, ‘I can make music like this.’

“When I was young, if I’d seen more queer people at these awards it would have lit my heart. Awards are there to inspire.”

Smith also shared some suggestions for artists who could have also been included in the Best Artist lineup, adding: “Cat Burns. Anne Marie. Florence Welch. There’s so much incredible female talent in the UK — they should be on that list.”

Smith has won three Brit Awards so far. The Independent has contacted the Brit Awards for comment.

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