Was Sam Smith excluded from being included in the Best Artist categories at the 2021 Brit Awards because they are non-binary?

It certainly seemed that way when the nominations were announced earlier this month, with Smith, who performed at the Mardi Gras party in 2020 and uses they/them as their pronouns missing out on being recognised as a Best Artist, seemingly because the Brit awards aren’t yet hip to how things are in 2021 and are still giving out Best Male Artist and Best Female Artist awards!

How very 2019 of them.

Which was actually when Smith requested to be referred to by the gender neutral pronouns they/them, back in September 2019!

Which also seems like a hundred years ago, so it’s not like this is new. 

It’s a time warp

Yet the Brit awards apparently didn’t possess the power of forward thinking to wonder if this might be relevant to them in 2021, when one of the most talented and successful British performers of the last decade released an album in 2020!?

Love Goes reached the number 2 spot in the UK charts after it’s release in October 2020 and had remained in the top 40 until dropping out at the beginning of March 2021.

Sam Smith, 28, released a statement on Instagram on Saturday 13th March saying, “The Brits have been an important part of my career … Music for me has always been about unification, not division.”

“I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”

They’re trying though, OK!

It’s hard!

A spokesperson for the Brit awards had this to say in response to Smith’s statement. 

“Sam is an extraordinary British artist and we agree with what they have said today. The Brits are committed to evolving the show and the gendered categories are very much under review.

“But any changes made to be more inclusive need to be just that – if a change unintentionally leads to less inclusion then it risks being counterproductive to diversity and equality. We need to consult more widely before changes are made to make sure we get it right.” 

Which seems like a bit of a noncommittal reply really though it’s probably enough to buy another year for them to “make sure we get it right” – let’s hope they get it sorted before next year‘s nominations because having Sam Smith excluded from the Best Artist award (or indeed, any other non-binary artists that come along in the future) after The Brit Awards lax efforts in 2021 would surely be deemed as unacceptable.

Awards at other ceremonies 

It will also be interesting to see if the other major award ceremonies will be preparing themselves for the inevitability of these discussions for their shows in the future – surely the first non-binary person to win an academy award for acting in a motion picture must be honing their craft and preparing their speech right now!

The Brit awards will be held on the 11th of May at the O2 Arena in London. 

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