A membership shake up at the BRITs Voting Academy has added more than 700 new members.
The Academy is the voting body convened each year to select the nominees and winners of the annual BRIT Awards. It will now be made up of 52 per cent male and 48 per cent female members, as well as 17 per cent BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) voters.
The shake up comes after last year’s awards, when the Voting Academy failed to nominate any BAME artists – prompting a protest hashtag, #BritsSoWhite, and backlash from Laura Mvula and Stormzy, who called the awards “embarrassing” in his song ‘One Take Freestyle’.
Ged Doherty, chairman of the BPI, which owns the BRIT Awards, said that the changes will result in the BRITs being “better equipped to reflect the diverse nature of Britain and British music.”
While speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, Doherty said that Stormzy’s comments were “a wake up call” to accelerate plans to diversify the Voting Academy’s membership.
Voting Academy invites have been sent out today, with voting on the awards commencing on 9 December and closing on 13 December.
The BRIT Awards 2017 will return to The O2 Arena on 22 February, and be broadcast live on ITV.