Over the last few years The BRITs have earned themselves a reputation of being a bit drab, with the same predictable list of artists receiving awards with very little diversity amongst them, a host (often James Corden, or Ant & Dec) armed with poor jokes and little charisma, and they’re frankly just a bit boring. However, Wednesday night’s BRIT Awards switched that all up and they were probably the best they’d been in years.
For starters, Jack Whitehall hosted. Unpopular opinion, but I actually quite like Jack Whitehall and I actually think he was pretty funny. Like his Olly Murs dig, after Rag’n’Bone Man‘s performance that included a dramatic fire display, he said: “That was a controlled blaze by the way. Apparently Olly Murs was in the toilet tweeting about it.” referring to Olly’s tweets from November when police responded to reports of an incident in Oxford Circus in London. He also joined ex-1D member Liam Payne and Cheryl at their table, saying he had a big question for them. “I know it’s past his bedtime but is the little fella watching at home?”, Jack told them that they should give him a wave just in case. Everyone assumed he was referring to their son Bear, but no – “Hello Niall!”. During the show, Jack Whitehall also introduced the audience to the North Korean “cheerleading team”. They waved and held up masks of North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un to which Jack said: “Ladies, remember I said we can’t wear that evil dictator’s mask live on ITV”. The masks quickly switched to ones of Simon Cowell instead. “Much better,” Jack added. “Weirdly, same hair cut”. And best of all was Jack Whitehall laying into Jesy Nelson from Little Mix about THAT Jamaican accent video.
Predictions leading up to the BRITs had the usual suspects lined up to scoop the awards. Music Week for example, had Ed Sheeran down to win Mastercard British Album Of The Year, British Male Solo Artist, AND British Single. This year however, the BRITs were dominated by two artists in particular – love of my life Dua Lipa, who last year captured lightning in a bottle and stormed her way to the top of the charts, rallying an army of loyal fans who worship the pop superstar, quickly becoming the UK’s most streamed female artist in 2017. She was also the most nominated female artist this year in BRITs history. The other was Stormzy, who turned out to actually be the recipient of the biggest award of the night, utilising his platform as usual to fight social injustice and to challenge PM Theresa May over Grenfell live on national television. Each bagged two awards at the BRITs, Dua Lipa for British Female and British Breakthrough (#Two-a Lipa), whilst Stormzy nabbed British Male and Mastercard British Album of the Year. Not only this, but both used their stage to challenge injustices such as sexism and racism in the music industry.
Taking to the stage to collect her first award of the night, Dua Lipa preached female empowerment. “I want to thank every single female who has been on this stage before me that has given girls like me – not just girls in the music industry, but girls in society – a place to be inspired by and look up to, and have allowed us to dream this big”, said the 22 year old after receiving the BRIT for British Female Solo Artist. ‘Thank you so so much. Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards, and more women taking over the world”. When accepting her award for British Breakthrough, Dua Lipa brought her little brother and sister on stage with her so they could ‘believe in magic’, and to show them that they will be able to achieve anything they set their mind to.
Ultimately however, it was Stormzy who stole the show. He battled Ed Sheeran to winning the biggest award of the night in the form of the Mastercard British Album of the Year for 2017’s Gang Signs and Prayers, an absolute shocker really considering ÷ was so big that the Official Charts Company had to change the singles chart rules after its 17 tracks all hit the Top 20 at once last March. Stormzy also closed the show with a stunning, breathtaking, and very politically-charged performance of Blinded By Your Grace pt.2, and calling card Big For Your Boots. I’d be completely lying if I said I hadn’t watched that performance at least 15 times since then. Between the two however, he began a freestyle rap that called out Theresa May over her handling of Grenfell, and the persecution of young black British men. “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell? What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell?”. It got even better though, when he finished the freestyle by oh-so-eloquently inviting the Daily Mail to suck his dick, and celebrating black excellence by praising BAFTA winning and Oscar Nominated Daniel Kaluuya and model Jourdan Dunne, and also his mum and sisters, stating he was raised by ‘black girl magic’. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn – who Stormzy has famously supported publicly – congratulated him on his victory, while Tottenham MP David Lammy praised Stormzy for ‘speaking truth to power’.
Dua Lipa and Stormzy are two of the most notable and powerful breakthrough acts in the British music scene over the last few years. They ended the night as two of Britain’s most passionate and vocal advocates, showing just how powerful and valued it is to actually use your position of influence and your voice to speak up on important issues in a straight forward display of activism.
Oh, and word of advice for future live performances at the BRITS? Don’t bother booking someone if you’re just going to mute the entire thing *cough* Kendrick *cough.
Other winners of the night included:
- British Male: Stormzy
- British Female: Dua Lipa
- British Group: Gorillaz
- Breakthrough Artist: Dua Lipa
- Global Success Award: Ed Sheeran
- British Single: Rag’n’Bone Man – Human
- British Album: Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
- British Video: Harry Styles – Sign of the Times
- International Male: Kendrick Lamar
- International Female: Lorde
- International Group: Foo Fighters
- Critics’ Choice: Jorja Smith