BRITS 2018 - What can we take away?

THE WINNERS: 

British Female Solo Artist – Dua Lipa

British Male Solo Artist – Stormzy

British Single – Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human

British Album of the Year – Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayers

British Group – Gorillaz

British Artist Video of the Year – Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

International Male Solo Artist – Kendrick Lamar

International Female Solo Artist – Lorde

International Group – Foo Fighters

Global Success Award – Ed Sheeran

This years BRIT awards was a 50/50 blend of surprises and expected disappointments, as the standard, same-old acts took to stage to perform, but Ed Sheeran failed to receive a single award (apart from the ‘Global Success Award’ which was, whilst deserving, appeared very much as a panicked ‘shit we’ve got to give him something…’) as Stormzy made certain Ed wasn't getting too big for his boots by beating him in two of the major categories. 

Smile through the pain, Ed. 

Replacing Emma Willis and Dermot O’Leary, comedian Jack Whitehall took over the presenting role and did an impressive job at making the acts feel suitably comfortable and uncomfortable, undoubtedly outshining James Corden's performance at the Grammy's (which, admittedly, was not very difficult so long as he avoided awkward racist and sexist remarks.) His one-liners were apt and actually really funny, particularly his introduction of Sam Smith in which he said: “If you like Adele songs but find them too upbeat, you’re in for a treat.”

But apart from the winners and the losers, what else can we take home from this years Brits?

What did this year mean for women?

As with the Grammy’s, the majority of the high-profile artists sported a white rose in solidarity with the Time’s Up and Me Too movements, which aim to stimulate awareness and take a stance against the sexual harassment and inequalities that thrive in the industry. And whilst the Foo Fighters appeared to be the only main-stream act that didn’t wear a white rose, Paloma Faith has proclaimed her disappointment that there were many men who failed to carry one, stating: “What I think is really important is that we’re speaking across the board for women because I have never met a woman who hasn’t experienced it in any profession.”

But apart from the tiny white pin that was overshadowed by Liam Gallagher’s over-sized parker, what else did the ceremony do to acknowledge its support for the campaign? Not a fat lot. Apart from Dua Lipa’s mention in her acceptance speech about women taking over the world, Ellie Goulding’s comment that women had been “stepping up for years”, and Emma Willis’ jibe about a lack of female co-host, the tribute to the women’s movement was disappointingly minimal. And what’s more, Dua Lipa was the only woman to win an award in a category that pitted her against male artists. The Brits certainly have a long way to go.

The Return of Grime?

After 4 long years, it seems that the Brits have finally acknowledged the resurgence of grime music. From Jack Whitehall’s entrance to Big Shaq’s ‘Mans Not Hot’, to Stormzy being the first grime artist to win Best British Album, this years Brits seems to have finally accepted that grime music is, well, pretty big at the moment. Stormzy’s success marks a significant improvement from 2016, when no black artist was nominated in any major category, but does not overshadow the depressing statistic that Stormzy is still only the fifth black British artist to win Best Album. Also, it did not bode well for Britain's 'acceptance' of grime culture that the majority of Kendrick Lamar's performance was muted... 

The Politics…

But Stormzy winning two awards was not his only success of the evening. He impressively used his final performance to make a political attack on Theresa May for the government’s failures with Grenfell Tower, saying: “Yo Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell? What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell?” This passionate attack was then followed by Stormzy ripping off his shirt and parading around stage which was, well, not an entirely unwelcome way to end the ceremony.

As well, in an interesting and uncomfortable scene, in which the microphone mysteriously kept turning off during the Gorillaz’ acceptance speech, Damon Albarn also made a political jibe when he referenced Brexit, stating: “Don’t let yourselves become cut off”. The combination of the slurred speech and the consistent silencing of the microphone made for a very uncomfortable viewing, but Jack Whitehall managed to salvage the situation by whispering to the camera: “I think he was talking about Brexit.”

Overall

It would be slightly optimistic to have expected something particularly memorable from the Brits that wasn’t something going disastrously wrong, but the acceptance of the re-emergence of grime was certainly a welcome and much over-due acknowledgement. Jack Whitehall was an unexpected delight, and the tribute to the Manchester attack with Liam Gallagher's performance of 'Live Forever' was stunning. The standout of the evening, however, has to be Stormzy, winning much more than just two major Brits awards.