Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Brit Awards: Rapper Dave wins album of the year and calls Boris Johnson ‘racist’

This year’s awards have been criticised for lack of female nominations

UK rapper Dave won Album of the Year at the 40th anniversary of the Brit awards on Tuesday, shortly after calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson a “racist” in a performance of one of his songs.

The London rapper, 21, scooped the award for his thoughtful concept album Psychodrama, which touches on topics including his older brothers’ prison convictions, his mental health and social injustice in Britain.

Dave gave an impassioned performance of his song “Black”, in which he rapped a new verse that criticised the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire and called Mr Johnson a racist. Downing Street did not comment.

Dave also criticised British tabloids’ coverage of Meghan Markle and paid tributes to Jack Merritt, the university postgraduate who was killed in the London Bridge terror attack in November.

The Best New Artist award went to Lewis Capaldi, which drew the ire of some commentators because it was the one chance for a female artist to win a mixed-gender category in this years’ Brits.

The awards this year have been criticised for their lack of female nominees.

In 2018, the nominations were far more evenly balanced, with Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie leading the way in nominations. Neither featured this year.

Pop star and daughter of soul singer Neneh Cherry, Mabel, won Best Female Artist award.

And there was an electric performance from Billie Eilish, who performed her new James Bond theme song and won the 2020 International Female Solo Artist award.

Michigan singer-songwriter Lizzo also stole the show with a blistering performance of Good as Hell and a Hershey’s chocolate-themed dress.

And Stormzy, who became the first black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury Festival last summer, won the Best Male Solo Artist award, beating former One Directioner Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi.

A controversial winner this year was American hip-hop star Tyler, the Creator, who five years ago was prevented from entering Britain by prime minister Theresa May.

Mrs May decried Tyler’s views, saying they “foster hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts".

He has been allowed back in the UK since, taking home the 2020 International Male Solo Artist award.

In an event that originally began as a musical tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, this year’s Brits were a far cry from the first ceremony.

Politics, diversity and mental health were very much on the agenda.

Comedian Jack Whitehall, who presented the awards, finished with a tribute to Caroline Flack, the Love Island presenter who committed suicide at the weekend after intense media scrutiny around her relationship with her boyfriend.

Whitehall called her “a member of the Brits family” and someone who had “an infectious sense of fun”.

He said she would be "sorely missed" as he tried to hold back the tears.

Updated: February 19, 2020 03:45 AM

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