Harry Styles has been praised for using his Brit Awards acceptance speech to acknowledge his ‘privilege’ and namecheck the female artists who were absent from the best artist category this year.
The singer, 29, dominated the awards on Saturday night, winning all four gongs he was nominated for, including best artist, best song for As It Was, best album for Harry’s House and best pop/R&B act.
The event had faced criticism this year, its second with gender-neutral categories, after the best artist list featured only male artists – Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Stormzy and Harry.
This was despite an increase in female artists or all-women groups across the board.
In an apparent reference to the online backlash to comments he made at the Grammys last weekend Harry said that he was ‘very aware of my privilege up here tonight’ while collecting the prize.
The Sign of the Times chart-topper then namechecked Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, Mabel, Florence + The Machine and Becky Hill, dedicating the award to the female acts eligible for the artist of the year category, who were not shortlisted.
‘Such a class human. Loved how he gave female artists, who should have been nominated, in best act category a mention,’ tweeted one viewer.
Another commented: ‘Fair play to Harry that this was a dig at the #BRITS for not nominating any women in the category.’
‘Now that’s what I’m talking about! Using your platform to help others!’ added another fan.
The praise continued as one viewer shared: ‘I loved that he dedicated the award to the female artists who were snubbed in this category and others despite having released fantastic albums last year.’
While accepting the Grammy for best album last Sunday, Harry had said on-stage: ‘This doesn’t happen to people like me very often’ prompting some to comment that artists from diverse backgrounds such as Beyonce have faced more obstacles to success.
He also thanked his family and his former One Direction bandmates at the Brits, saying: ‘I wouldn’t be here without you.’
Claiming his fourth and final gong of the night, he added: ‘Thanks for the welcome home…I’m so proud to be a British artist.’
Brit Awards 2023: Full winners list
Hip hop/grime/rap act
Best new artist
Artist of the year
Group of the year
International song of the year
Beyoncé, Break My Soul
Song of the year
Harry Styles, As It Was
Producer of the year
Album of the year
Harry Styles, Harry’s House
The last time an act secured four Brits in one year was 2016 when Adele swept away the competition following the release of her album 25.
Indie rockers Wet Leg also followed up on their success at the Grammys last week, where they won two prizes, by claiming the gongs for best new artist and best group.
The Isle of Wight-formed band, comprised of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, are due to head out on tour as Harry’s opening act in the coming months.
Beyonce also won two Brits – best international artist and best international song for her dancefloor focussed anthem Break My Soul.
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!’
This year, four genre categories were decided by the public via a vote on TikTok – alternative rock act, hip hop/rap/grime act, dance act and pop/R&B act.
Harry claimed best pop/R&B act while alternative rock act went to The 1975 and Manchester rapper Aitch claimed the prize for hip hop/rap/grime act.
Aitch thanked the fans for voting, his team and his record label and added ‘not many’ people from where he is from in the city win awards.
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