Diversity row as Adele, Bieber prepare for Brit awards

24th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Adele, Rihanna, Coldplay and Justin Bieber will perform at the annual Brit Awards in London on Wednesday, but an all-star tribute to David Bowie risks being overshadowed by a row over diversity.

Pop superstar Adele is up for four awards, including in the best solo female artist category, in which late soul singer Amy Winehouse is also nominated for the soundtrack to Asif Kapadia's Oscar-nominated documentary "Amy".

Singer-songwriter James Bay and British electronic trio Years and Years have also received four nods each, while pop dance star Jess Glynne and DJ Calvin Harris each have three.

Grammy winner Ed Sheeran is up for best video and best single, while six-time Brit winners Coldplay are up for best group and best album for their seventh and possibly last LP, "A Head Full of Dreams".

The Brit Awards unashamedly celebrate commercial success, but in an echo of the storm surrounding the Oscars, organisers have this year come under fire for the scarcity of black or ethnic minority nominees.

British rapper Stormzy, who won best Grime act at the Mobo (Music of Black Origin) awards in 2014 and 2015 and who had a top 10 hit last year, said he was disappointed his kind of music was not celebrated.

"You know when you've got that little bit of hope and that little bit of faith and then they didn't," he told BBC Radio 1.

Laura Mvula, a soul singer shortlisted for the critic's choice award at the 2013 Brits, told the BBC she would not be attending this year because of "the diversity issue".

Organisers said the Brits tended to honour artists "who have achieved the very highest levels of chart success", but acknowledged that it might be time to take a "fresh look" at how the nominees are chosen.

They announced plans for a new advisory committee to help them more effectively acknowledge diverse talent.

Alexis Petridis, the Guardian newspaper's rock and pop critic, has accused the Brits of "making British pop music look more boring than it actually is".

He said the absence of grime artists in particular gave the impression that British music is "an endless sea of rounded-edge singer-songwriters, derivative pop-house and middling, putatively 'alt' rock".

- 'Fitting' Bowie tribute -

Award organisers have promised a "fitting tribute" to Bowie, the British rock legend who died last month, with rumours of a performance by an A-list supergroup.

Lady Gaga set the bar high with an extravagant tribute at the Grammys, but media reports suggest former Britpop rivals Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn, Bono, Coldplay and Adele could all unite for the British send-off.

Bowie won best British male at the 2014 Brits, 30 years after he first won the award, but sent model Kate Moss to collect it, dubbing her his "representative on Earth".

The award ceremony regularly draws big names, including Madonna, who last year made headlines when she fell off the stage in an accident she blamed on her Armani cape.

At London's O2 Arena on Wednesday, Adele will be hoping to avoid a repeat of her own debacle at the Grammys, when she veered out of tune after a microphone fell on the strings of the piano that accompanied her.

© 2016 AFP

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