BEYONCÉ and Becky Hill were among the early winners at the Brit Awards – as female stars slammed the gender neutral “woke” ceremony that has seen Sam Smith steal headlines by turning up in a “Gimp suit”.
The biggest names from the UK music, from Stormzy to Harry Styles, Aitch, the Bad Boy Chiller Crew and… “they” Sam Smith, descended on London’s O2 Arena for the annual ceremony – that’s still LIVE on ITV1 and ITVX in the UK. – Catch up on ITVX.
Queen Bey won the prize for best international artist, beating Lizzo, Burna Boy, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift.
The pop superstar was not present but in a video message said: “Thank you so much for this incredible recognition” before thanking her British fans and adding: “The renaissance begins!”
AITCH KEEPS IT REAL
Despite the gender narrative being pursued by woke London-centric lefties – proper working class rapper Aitch – from “the other (rough) side” of Manchester dedicated his BRIT Award for hip hop/grime/rap to people like him.
The rapper who grew up sliding round in north Manny said: “Wow, I’m not going to lie, I never get scared… but I’m shitting myself.”
Aitch said he was “s*******” himself as he picked up the Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap gong at The BRIT Awards 2023.
The 23-year-old rapper – real name Harrison James Armstrong – told the crowd at London’s O2 Arena when he became the first winner announced at the event, he had wanted to have a “couple more drinks” before he got on stage.
He said: “I’m not going to lie – I never get a bit scared, but I’m s******* myself because I thought I would have time for a couple more drinks before I came on here. But obviously not.”
Aitch beat favourites including Stormzy, Central Cee, Dave and Loyle Carner to scoop the award and said he wanted to thank fans first.
He added he wanted to get a string of “shout outs out of the way” to his team and Capitol Records, before adding: “Not to get all cliché, but not many people where I’m from – especially not my side of Manchester – get the opportunity to stand up here and receive such an amazing gift, or award, and I think that’s the main reason I do it for – to set examples and make people know that it’s possible no matter where you’re from… I think everyone in the room should be proud of themselves just for being here, and sometimes we just ed to kick back and reflect on how well everyone is doing because I don’t do that personally enough. Big up, respect, thank you.”
The crowd were told by the BRITS award announcer Aitch had recently become a dad, and was the first rapper to release an album with NFT technology that landed in the UK album charts.
In August 2022 he celebrated the release of his debut album ‘Close to Home’ by releasing two NFT collections on the LimeWire platform.
He has released 17 singles that have charted within the top 40 in the UK and 9 in the top 10, including ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ and ‘Baby’, which peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.
“Big up everyone, respect. Thank you,” he added.
Host Mo Gilligan kicked off the ceremony with a skit in which he arrived at the O2 Arena via a helicopter organised by Lizzo.
Styles then opened the show with a performance of his hit As It Was wearing an unbuttoned glittering gold jacket and flared trousers.
He and indie rock duo Wet Leg lead the nominations with four apiece, while grime star Stormzy follows with three.
The Brits have faced a backlash this year – their second with gender-neutral categories – after the best artist list was dominated entirely by men, with Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Styles and Stormzy featuring.
This was despite an increase in female artists or all-women groups across the board.
Smith, who is non-binary and spoke out in favour of genderless categories before the change, said the lack of women on the list shows there is “still a long way to go”.
Charli XCX, who features among the pop/R&B nominees but missed out on best artist, said on the red carpet: “I heard that the reason that there aren’t any women nominated in the best artist category is that the Brits felt that there weren’t enough women in album cycle.
“But I was in album cycle and had a number one, critically acclaimed album, so yeah. That is really all I have to say.”
She later jokingly added: “I just know that I am iconic.”
Black was the dominant colour on the carpet with Styles, Smith, Salma Hayek Pinault and many more opting for all-black outfits.
Performers on the night will include Stormzy, Styles, Wet Leg, David Guetta, US pop star Lizzo, Smith and British singer-songwriters Ella Henderson and Becky Hill.
The Brit Awards continue on ITV1 and ITVX.