Despite COVID and the cancellation of live performances and awards the BRIT Awards have reached our screens. No truer words were spoken from host Jack Whitehall that ‘Music has the power to connect us all,’ and last night that was proven as an audience of our amazing key workers who have been incredible over this past year of the pandemic rightly deserved this opportunity and night out to listen to live music to award great British artists & performers.
The Brits award ceremony was one of the most anticipated events this year having been delayed due to the pandemic. For the fourth year in a row, Jack Whitehall hosted the event which was full of powerful women, people of colour, role models and talented creatives.
Little Mix made history by winning the award for best British Group which is a great start to their new journey as a three. Arlo Parks also won the award for the Breakthrough artist which is a big win and possibly my favourite as someone I’m excited for and interested in her growth throughout her career.
UK Drill rapper Headie One was joined by Young T & Bugsey and AJ Tracey in his Brits performance. The performance was full of high energy and showcased UK’s hip-hop talent.
– – Amber
“Everybody get out of their seats!”, shouts Chris, the warm-up man at the Brits and the 4,000 strong audience doesn’t need any coercion as this is the first taste of live music that anyone’s had in more than a year. After all the COVID tests and COVID procedures, everyone waits as the lights dim and the titles pop up. Only for them to watch a pre-recorded performance of Coldplay performing their new single on the River Thames. Yup, that’s right. After a year of watching live music on a screen, the Brit Awards opens by making the audience watch more live music on screen. It’s one of my favourite performances because of the effects that took place, like the holograms that appeared mid-performance. And if I’m honest, another reason is because of the irony of expecting live music. But getting live music on a screen.
Fast forward along the timeline, and Headie One assembles some of UK rap’s leading names, such as the prolific AJ Tracey and Young T & Bugsey to perform a fierce and powerful rendition of ‘Ain’t It Different and ‘Princess Cuts’, whose lyrics fired shots at the vilification of drill music and Black people living in Britain. This is my favourite performance because of the powerful lyrics that was delivered and the constant struggles that Black Brits go through despite being born here.
Dua Lipa triumphed at the awards winning 2 of her 3 nominations of the night. Her speech held an important message highlighting the amazing women within the nominations list, having spoken up about the lack of female representation in previous years. She also picked Dame Elizabeth Anionwu as her fellow honouree saying: “It’s very good to clap for frontline workers – but we need to pay them […] We need to give Boris a message that we support a fair pay rise for our frontline”.
A performance I wanted to highlight was Olly Alexander & Elton John’s Electro/dance updated version of the Pet Shop Boys ‘It’s a Sin’, from the series of the same name, which Olly starred in earlier this year. The series is set in 1981 London at the height of the HIV virus and the fear and stigma within the LGBTQ community. This was an amazing collaboration between the two artists and powerful performance as Elton took to the piano as Olly joined in as a duet before dancing around the stage to their song with rainbow lights shining down on them throughout.
This version of the song has been released in support of The Elton John AIDS Foundation which you can support by streaming: https://eltonjohnyearsandyears.lnk.to/ItsasinID
– – Leah
British Male: J Hus
British Female: Dua Lipa
British Group: Little Mix
Breakthrough: Arlo Parks
British Album: Dua Lipa, “Future Nostalgia”
International Female: Billie Eilish
International Male: The Weeknd
International Group: Haim
British Single: Harry Styles, “Watermelon Sugar”