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Music

Queen guitarist Brian May criticises BRIT Awards' decision to scrap gendered categories

Everyone’s favourite badger lover, Queen guitarist Brian May, has weighed in on the debate surrounding the BRIT Awards’ decision to remove the gendered system of awards categories. May has reacted with dismay towards the change and has expressed his concern at the direction he believes society is heading in. 

The polarising debate kicked off earlier this week when the organisers of the iconic awards ceremony announced that Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year are to replace the traditional Male and Female categories.

It wasn’t that much of a surprise that the decision was taken, as it was first reported back in 2019 that the Awards were debating removing gendered categories. The change was enacted as the Awards hope to change with the ever-evolving music industry. 

The decision came after the BRIT Awards responded to criticism from artist Sam Smith who identifies as non-binary. They criticised the BRIT’s plan to retain gendered categories for the 2021 ceremony, and now they’ve changed course for next year. 

On Tuesday, November 23rd, Brian May gave his two cents. Speaking to The Mirror, he said: “It’s a decision that has been made without enough thought. A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone.”

“I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences,” he explained. “Some of these things are an improvement, some of them are not.”

Echoing a typical boomer sentiment, the Queen guitarist admitted he feels there is an “atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think”.

He then delivered a foreboding prophecy, which is perhaps the bleakest the generally affable guitarist has ever been in the media. He said: “I think so many people are feeling, ‘Hang on, this isn’t quite right’. But they don’t dare say anything. Eventually, there will be some kind of explosion.”

To support his point, May used the life of his late bandmate Freddie Mercury as an example. He revealed that he thought Mercury would have felt the new cultural climate “difficult”. He then used Mercury’s nationality and sexual orientation as examples. May asserted: “He was a musician, he was our friend, he was our brother. We didn’t have to stop and think: ‘Ooh, now, should we work with him? Is he the right colour? Is he the right sexual proclivity?’ None of that happened, and now I find it frightening that you have to be so calculating about everything.”

May is just one of many celebrities who have weighed in on the debate. A developing story in an ever-changing debate, one only hopes May’s foreboding warning doesn’t come to fruition. You can’t help but think that he’s overreacting to the whole thing.