Written by Christobel Hastings
Christobel Hastings is Stylist’s Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.
The Brit Awards are shaking up the 2022 music ceremony by scrapping gendered categories, introducing new genre-based prizes, and welcoming a new presenter lineup.
For music lovers in the UK, watching the Brit Awards on TV every year is something of a tradition. You come for the showstopping live performances, wince through the awkward jokes and always get a few unexpected moments thrown in the mix –because live telly with tipsy pop stars is always a recipe for fun.
Next year, however, heralds a big change for the Brits, as organisers have announced that from 2022, separate male and female categories will be replaced by gender-neutral awards in an effort to make the show more inclusive.
Starting from next February, the separate gendered categories, which originated in 1977, will be combined into single prizes for Best British Artist, Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year.
That means that there’ll be no best British male and female solo artist, which were won by Dua Lipa and J Hus this year. The change will also be reflected in the category for best international male and female solo artist, which were awarded to The Weeknd and Billie Eilish in 2020.
The move comes after the Brits academy faced mounting pressure to remove its gendered categories and accommodate non-binary artists. Sam Smith, who won the Critics’ Choice prize in 2014 and identifies as non-binary, has previously called for awards shows to be more “reflective of the society we live in” after they missed out on a nomination in the gendered categories for solo artist at this year’s awards.
In a statement announcing the decision, the Brits academy said the new changes will celebrate artists “solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them, as part of The Brits’ commitment to evolving the show to be as inclusive and as relevant as possible”.
Tom March, co-president of Polydor Records, added: “It is important that the Brits continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible. It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender.”
The 2022 show is set to embrace more changes with the introduction of four new genre-based prizes, all of which will decided by a public vote. They include awards for alternative/rock act, pop/R&B act, dance act and hip-hop/rap/grime act, which join the new artist awards and established categories for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Group of the Year, International Group of the Year, Best New Artist, and the Rising Star Award for tipped future talent.
What’s more, the Song of the Year prize (previously called Best British Single) will also recognise featured artists, rather than only counting lead artists and named collaborators as nominees.
The 2022 Brits are also creating a new honorary award for Songwriter of the Year, joining the Producer of the Year award, which are decided upon by the Brits committee.
Organisers said the awards will “showcase the range of music styles that have produced some of the UK’s best loved artists, and demonstrate the diverse cultural melting pot that British music is known for”.
The full category list for 2022 will be as follows:
Artist of the Year sponsored by YouTube Music
Group of the Year
Brits Rising Star supported by BBC Radio 1
Best New Artist
Song of the Year with Mastercard
Mastercard Album of the Year
International Artist of the Year
International Group of the Year
Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act
Following the departure of Jack Whitehall, who has presented the ceremony for the past four years, it’s also been announced that the 2022 awards will be hosted by double Bafta-winning British stand-up comedian Mo Gilligan.
“It’s an absolute privilege to host the 2022 Brit Awards,” said Gilligan. “I’m truly honoured to be asked. We’re already in the extensive planning stages and all I can say is, I promise we’re going to give it all we’ve got to create an incredible night for music fans everywhere. Let’s go!”
Maya Jama and Clara Amfo will also be returning for presenting duties, announcing the nominations on ITV’s The Brits Are Coming in December, and reporting the celebrity red carpet arrivals on the night of the awards.
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