The 2019 BRIT Awards took place in London last night, where the cream of the crop of British pop music took to their seats and stage to celebrate. A few choice acts dominated the awards proceedings; with Calvin Harris winning Producer of the Year and best British single for his collaboration with Dua Lipa One Kiss; and The 1975 winning both British Group and British Album of the Year.
But while the actual awards were the mainstay of the evening, it was the performances and appearances by the stars on the night that made the BRITS truly special this year. The unofficial theme of the evening seemed to be female empowerment; with stellar performances from female artists, encouraging speeches by feminist supporters, and even a painting making a powerful statement on the night.
The Carters and Meghan Markle
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to the Brits for the award for Best International Group. I won this award back in 2002 with my besties, Kelly and Michelle. How lucky am I to have been in a group with my other best friend, the GOAT Hova. 🙌🏾 In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy.
Although the BRITS is largely concerned with British music, the awards also has a number of international categories for artists worldwide. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, under their collaborative name of The Carters, won the award for Best International Group, and as is custom, they sent a video recording to accept and thank the BRITS for the award.
But while other international winners Drake and Ariana Grande kept their messages short and to the point, the Carters made sure to make the most of their airtime. As Beyoncé thanked the BRITS for their win, the couple stood in front of a painting of the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, in which she appears to be posing as a queen. The couple then turn to gaze at the painting as the camera pans out. The moment made its way immediately onto social media, with fans of both the Carters and Markle praising Beyoncé and Jay-Z for making such a strong statement in support of Markle, who, many have said, has been treated unfairly through media scrutiny ever since she announced her pregnancy last year.
On Instagram, Beyoncé uploaded a picture of the moment, saying: "In honour of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."
Jess Glynne bares all
Former BRIT nominee Jess Glynne took to the stage last night to perform her single Thursday, alongside US artist H.E.R. Thursday has proven to be a radio hit since its release late last year, and its lyrics about self-acceptance, inner beauty and regaining confidence have struck a chord with many of Glynne's fans.
As she sang last night, Glynne chose to turn her performance into a statement about the importance of baring all and accepting beauty in all forms; as she sat on the stage with a chorus of other women, all in front of mirrors, with make-up removers alongside. As Glynne began to sing, she also began to remove her make-up while looking into the mirror, and by the end of the song, was completely bare-faced — and singing just as confidently and joyfully as she had been in full-face.
The performance was praised as 'beautiful' and 'brave' on social media by fans, and sent a powerful message about women's beauty standards, on an evening that is usually so dominated by looks.
The 1975 crediting Laura Snapes
Oh man https://t.co/wpclnWsVlc
— Laura Snapes (@laurasnapes) February 20, 2019
British group The 1975 were one of the big winners of the night, taking home two BRITS off the back of their most recent album A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships. But when making the speech for their first win of the night for British Group, lead singer Matty Healy took the opportunity to draw attention and show support to a larger issue — misogyny in the music industry.
Earlier that day, The Guardian published a piece by its Deputy Music Editor Laura Snapes entitled The Ryan Adams allegations are the tip of an indie-music iceberg, in which she discussed the double standards and dangerous conditions that are made around young, vulnerable female artists in the music industry. Healy had tweeted the piece yesterday afternoon, and during his speech, read a particularly significant quote from Snapes, imploring the audience to "really really think about it":
"Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and examined as traits of difficult artists, while women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art"
P!NK's performance of the night
The highlight of the night for spectators was definitely P!NK's performance to close the evening. As winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, the evening celebrated P!NK's two-decade-long career with a medley of some of her many greatest hits, including her new single Walk Me Home, Just Like Fire, Just Give Me a Reason, Try and finishing with a powerful finalé performance of What About Us.
P!NK's career has spanned eight studio albums (the latest to be released in April), two Grammys and recently, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has always been credited with pushing boundaries through her art, whether it's in smashing gender roles and stereotypes of femininity, or turning her live performances into death-defying spectacles, truly making her a female pop artist of a generation.
Photo: Beyonce and Jay-Z via Instagram