Other award shows, including the Grammys, removed their gendered categories in 2012, a decision praised by many artists. Rather than choosing a best British male solo artist of the year, and female counterpart, the new award “Artist of the Year” condenses these two gendered categories into one. The same change will be made to the International Solo Artist of the Year award, which is currently also separated into "male" and "female".
Organisers explained the move by arguing that by "celebrating artists solely for their music" will help make the show more "inclusive" for non-binary artists. Even regardless of the very important inclusivity element, the move makes so much sense - why be seen as the best solo artist of X gender rather than just... the best solo artist, full stop?
Last year, Sam Smith criticised the gendered categories: "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.”
2022's Brit Awards will be hosted by the comedian Mo Gilligan and held on the 8th of February at the O2 Arena.