Dua Lipa topped the 2021 Brit Awards winners, calling on Boris Johnson to endorse ‘a fair pay rise’ for frontline NHS staff as she won gongs, including UK album top prize for his spectacular disco show Future Nostalgia.
She also took home the award for a female solo artist, bringing her total UK awards to five and solidifying her position as one of the UK’s most successful and critically acclaimed pop stars.
Receiving this latest award and addressing the 2,500 key workers who received tickets to the show, she said, “It’s great to applaud for [frontline NHS staff], but we have to pay them, ”dedicating her award to nurse and health pioneer Dame Elizabeth Anionwu.
She then dedicated her album award to Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, the 20-year-old man who died after trying to save a woman who fell in the Thames in April. She demanded that a bravery award be given to her and Joaquin Garcia, who also attempted a rescue and survived with the woman.
The Brit Awards 2020 have been widely criticized for their strong bias towards male performers, with only one British woman – pop singer Mabel – nominated in 25 slots in the mixed categories. There was a categorical reversal in 2021, with Lipa among a wide range of winners.
Little Mix became the first all-female group to win the UK group’s award, with Five Star in 1987, Stereo MCs in 1994 and Gorillaz in 2018, the only winners in the previous category to feature women.
Little Mix’s victory crowns a career that began on The X Factor TV show 10 years ago, with six UK Top 5 albums since, plus 16 Top 10 singles, including five reaching No.1. is now scheduled to take a break, with members Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock each announcing pregnancies this month, and founding member Jesy Nelson left the group in December.
Pinnock said upon receiving the award: “It’s not easy being a woman in the UK pop industry. We have seen white male domination, misogyny, sexism, and the lack of diversity. We’re proud of how we’ve stood united, held our own, surrounded ourselves with strong women, and are now using our voices more than ever.
Los Angeles trio Haim won the International Group, the first all-girl group to do so in nearly two decades after Destiny’s Child won in 2002. Billie Eilish won the International Female Award, pop singer Griff won the Rising Star Award and Taylor Swift became the first woman to receive the Global Icon Award, previously won by David Bowie, Elton John and Robbie Williams. “There is no career path that is free from negativity,” she said, receiving the award in person. “If you encounter resistance, it probably means you are doing something new.”
Twenty-year-old Arlo Parks won the artist’s breakthrough, having released one of the most admired albums of the year so far with his debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams, mixing trip-hop and soul in songs full of emotional storytelling.
She had been nominated for three awards and also performed at the ceremony, telling The Guardian ahead of time, “It’s pretty crazy, and I think it didn’t quite flow. I’ve done a lot of preparation and rehearsal, and it’s nice to spend the time building something that feels like a step back from gigs and gigs. When they come back properly, they will be even more special because these songs will have taken root in people’s lives and recorded a soundtrack in such a difficult time.
Every year this century, at least half of the winners in mixed categories are men, but in 2021, six out of seven are women. The celebration of female talent follows similar recognition at this year’s Grammy Awards, where Eilish, Swift, Megan Thee Stallion and HER took home the top four awards, and where Lipa took one of her six nominations, for the best pop vocal album.
Lipa couldn’t sweep the board at the Brits and was beaten to the UK single by Harry Styles with his song Watermelon Sugar, a lasting success since its release in November 2019 which spent 62 weeks on the UK charts in total.
He also addressed key audience employees, saying, “Thank you for all you’ve done for this country,” while Headie One and AJ Tracey added new lyrics to their hit song Ain’t It Different. , rapping: “Teamwork keeps the dream working. It is right that we show love to key workers. The couple have also launched a coup against Boris Johnson’s government, “saying eating out to help but won’t help. [Marcus] Rashford when he feeds the young ”, while performing on a set designed by Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh.
The British male was won by J Hus, the East Londoner whose sophisticated blend of rap and African pop production was cohesive on his No.1 album Big Conspiracy.
The international masculine was won by The Weeknd, who was snubbed at this year’s Grammys, scoring no nominations despite one of the world’s biggest hits of the year with Blinding Lights. He also performed at the Brit Awards via video, and his award was presented to him with a video message from Michelle Obama.
Further performances have come from Lipa, Parks, Griff, Coldplay and Olivia Rodrigo, the latter making her UK debut after her lone driving license topped the charts for nine weeks earlier this year. Elton John and Years & Years performed a surprise collaboration from Pet Shop Boys’ It’s a Sin.
Rag’n’Bone Man closed the show alongside Pink and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir. Ahead of the event, the British blues-soul singer told The Guardian he was honored to share the stage with key employees, and added: “It was difficult not having the kind of production that I have. usually have, to be able to go on stage and let it all hang out. I really feel for the people where [live performance] is their livelihood, especially if you’re at a certain point in your career where you have to do a lot for so little – I know what that feels like. I think these are the people most affected. “
The Brits of 2021 was the first large-scale indoor event to be held as part of a government-led research program into how crowds can safely return to events. Scientists monitored the event and tracked down all potential areas of contamination. “The lessons the government learns from this will be very important and, hopefully, will enable them to inform their approach and policy in the future,” said a spokesperson for the Brit Awards.
Hannah, a 26-year-old nurse who attended the awards ceremony, said it looked like a long-awaited party after a difficult year. “I can’t believe I’m really here,” she said. “It’s so nice to have an evening to dress and dance, even if it seems strange because we are not completely out of the heart. But one has the impression that the difficulties of the past year are coming to an end.
Brit Awards 2021 winners
British woman: Dua Lipa
British male: J Hus
British group: Small mixture
Revolutionary artist: Parks Arlo
British single: Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
British album: Dua Lipa – Nostalgia for the future
International woman: Billie Eilish
International man: Le weekend
International group: Haim
Global icon: Taylor Swift
Rising star: Griff