Brit Awards scrap separate male, female prize categories

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FILE – Mabel accepts the award for British Female Solo Artist on stage at the Brit Awards 2020 in London, Feb. 18, 2020. The organizers of the Brit Awards announced Monday Nov. 22, 2021, they are scrapping separate male and female artist categories in a shakeup designed to make the music prizes more inclusive. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — The organizers of the Brit Awards announced Monday they are scrapping separate male and female artist categories in a shakeup designed to make the music prizes more inclusive.

Next year’s awards will feature trophies for U.K. and international artist of the year, replacing male and female awards in each category. Organizers said the change will celebrate artists “solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them.”

The 2022 ceremony will also include four new awards for different genres, decided by public vote: alternative/rock act; hip hop/grime/rap act; dance act and pop/R’n’B act.

The moves are the latest changes made in response to criticism that the awards long failed to reflect the diversity of British music. In 2017, the academy of more than 1,000 music industry professionals that chooses Brits winners was expanded in an attempt to make it more gender-balanced and diverse.

The 2022 Brit Awards ceremony will be held Feb. 8 at London’s O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Mo Gilligan.

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