Dear BRIT Awards, Pop and R&B Are Not the Same Thing
The 2022 BRIT awards made some serious changes for next year's ceremony by scrapping gendered categories and by nominating more women than in previous years — something the British Phonographic Industry was praised for when the nominee list went out. But one thing is still left unresolved. Back in November, the awarding body announced four new public-voted categories including best dance, best rock/alternative, best pop/R&B, and nest hip hop/rap/grime, which sparked debate among music artists rightfully claiming that pop and R&B are totally different categories, along with hip hop, rap, and grime being completely different entities, too.
On 18 Dec., the nominees for those categories were announced, which led to even more confusion because no R&B artists were nominated for the combined best pop/R&B award. The current nominees include Adele, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Griff, and Joy Crookes — none of whom can be described as being from the R&B genre. Understandably, a number of British R&B artists expressed their disappointment and shared their thoughts online, including Mahalia, Hamzaa, Sinead Harnett, and Kara Marni.
"Putting pop and R&B in the same category is really nuts to me," Mahalia shared on Twitter. "And proves that the powers that be once again just do not get it, I love the Brits. I have since I was a kid. But as an R&B singer/songwriter, this feels completely unprogressive to the whole UK R&B scene."
Up-and-coming artist Kara Marni posted a video on TikTok about the decision, where she questioned: "Firstly, why is there a category that lumps together pop and R&B in the first place? Secondly, if that's what they're going to do, how can they not include a single R&B artist in the category? It's not actually funny but if you don't laugh you're gonna f*cking cry. It's just sad that UK R&B has never got the respect it deserves its own flipping category. Literally just off the top of my head my girl Sinead Harnett, Mahalia, Ray BLK dropped sick music this year, and Nao. I could name many more. Sorry, but there's no excuse."
Along with Marni and Mahalia, Sinead Harnett also shared a video on Twitter and a series of tweets expressing her discontent. The BRIT Awards have yet to respond to the criticism, but there are hopes that similarly to the Grammy Awards changing its world music category name and the BRITs previously scrapping gendered categories after Sam Smith shared their views, artists voicing their concerns will be enough to create a change for future ceremonies.
Keep reading to see what artists had to say about the current BRIT Awards pop and R&B category.