The Brit Awards are to remove male and female categories to make the annual ceremony as “inclusive and relevant as possible”.
From 2022, there will be awards for Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year, instead of Best Male and Best Female Solo Artist and Best International Male and Female Solo Artist. Dua Lipa and J Hus will be the last winners of the gendered awards.
In a statement announcing the change, the Brits said the move came as they wanted to celebrate “artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them”.
Smith, who is non-binary, did not submit their most recent album for last year’s Brits – Love Goes – due to it not fitting into any of the gender-based categories.
At 2021’s ceremony, they said: “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.”
The awards have been given along gender lines since the inception of the Brits in 1977. The organisers of the awards promised a review into the prizes in 2019 but are only changing the process now.
The Brits are also reintroducing genre-based prizes for the first time since 2006. Covering alternative/rock, pop/R&B, dance and hip-hop/rap/grime, the awards will be voted for by fans, rather than music industry insiders as per tradition.
New for #BRITs 2022: Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year - celebrating artists solely for their music, The BRITs have committed to making the show more inclusive (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Y5UfvfZiQi
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) November 22, 2021
The 42nd Brit Awards will take place on 8 February 2022 in London and be hosted by comedian Mo Gilligan.