The Brit Awards, the UK’s equivalent of the Grammys and the Junos, are coming up in London on Wednesday and you can bet that the event will be populated by many, many #MeToo messages.
The Guardian takes a look at the mood of the British industry heading into this year’s ceremonies.
After sartorial support was shown for the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements at the Golden Globes and the Grammys, the Brit awards are following suit. The awards’ organising body, the British Phonographic Industry, has invited artists and guests attending the 2018 ceremony to wear a white rose pin “as a symbol of solidarity” – although the memo doesn’t specify the cause.
The Guardian understands the BPI consulted industry figures on how to acknowledge the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in the arts. The body ultimately partnered with Voices in Entertainment, the American collective of female executives that asked artists to wear white roses to the Grammys. “If the Brit awards can help shine a light on such a sensitive topic, our hope is that it will ultimately help,” says the awards’ chair, Jason Iley.
Speaking via email after declining a conversation, Iley explains the BPI’s decision: “We felt the ongoing conversation around equality and harassment in the workplace could not be ignored by the UK music community.” Asked about the scale of sexual harassment in British music, he says “every single industry faces these kinds of unacceptable problems”, and expresses certainty that the industry is addressing its former issues with inequality. The BPI has not planned any topical speeches or performances for the ceremony, preferring to leave “artists and presenters freedom to exercise this right on the night”, Iley says.
The tribute has met with a mixed response. “I personally will not be wearing a flower, not because I don’t have sympathy with the cause – I myself have experienced sexual harassment – but I feel however well-intentioned this action is, we should all be focused on creating meaningful change,” says Vick Bain, chief executive of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. She cites a need for labels, publishers and radio playlisters to commit to total equality, and to support and promote women “throughout their careers so they don’t up and leave, as is currently the situation”.
Paul Pacifico, chief executive of the Association of Independent Music, says: “I appreciate the BPI’s efforts to highlight the issue, but we already know there is a problem.”
If you’re following the #MeToo movement’s sweep through the music industry, you need to keep reading.