Brits vow to tackle diversity as no black and ethnic artists nominated


Brit Awards bosses have promised to address the lack of diversity among the nominees, with a "fresh look" at how they are chosen.

The Brits have come under fire as no black and ethnic minority artists are up for UK awards this year. The only non-white nominees are in the international artist categories.

An echo of the #OscarSoWhite Twitter-storm has emerged with the hashtag #BritsSoWhite.

In a statement, the Brit Awards said: "The Brits take the issue of diversity very seriously and have always endeavoured to celebrate as broad a range of what's popular in today's music as possible.

"There are no individual awards for specific genres however, and since only a small number of Brits are awarded every year, the artists who are honoured tend to be those who have achieved the very highest levels of chart success.

"Given the rapidly changing landscape of music consumption, it may now be time to take a fresh look at the metrics around the Brit Awards to ensure they reflect the full range of engagement with recorded music."

Plans have been announced for a new advisory committee "comprising respected members of the BAME (Black, Asian and Middle Eastern) music community."

It is hoped this will help the Brits - run by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) - to "more effectively acknowledge diverse, breaking and established talent in future, including genres such as Grime, which aren't always considered mainstream but are growing in popularity."

Brits bosses also plan to survey the members of the 1,000-strong Voting Academy to find out their age, ethnicity, gender and regional background - information which is not currently collected.

The results of this survey will be "assessed and acted on where required".

The statement continued: "The Brits wish to ensure the Academy is also as broadly representative and diverse as possible, in line with future social trends."

British rapper Stormzy has criticised the Brits after he was not included in this year's nominations, despite having won best Grime act at the Mobo Awards (short for Music of Black Origin) in 2014 and 2015.

He told NME: "You know when you've got that little bit of hope and that little bit of faith and then they didn't."

According to the statement, BPI and Brit Awards chairman Ged Doherty has since met with Stormzy to listen to his concerns - and explain why his hit single Shut Up just missed out on eligibility by one week.

"Stormzy was happy with the explanation and advised that he is open to being consulted in future," the Brits said.

Grime artist Big Narstie also addressed the issue in an interview on Channel 4 news on Tuesday, saying: "The only diversity in the Brits is with the Americans. I've been saying this for a while, for our country to do good, we need to embrace our country.

"Years ago when I was making music, I was sending it off to radio stations and getting told it was 'too urban'.

"But what else am I supposed to make? I come from Brixton. None of my friends go to places like Selfridges. I'm a regular at the pound shop! So what am I supposed to impress you with?"

:: The Brit Awards 2016 with MasterCard will take place on Wednesday at the 02 Arena in London and will be shown live on ITV.

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