Brian May has criticised BRIT Awards bosses for abandoning separate male and female prizes in favour of gender-neutral categories.
The organisers of next year’s U.K. music prizegiving believe the decision will make the bash more “inclusive” but the move has drawn criticism as the shortlists for existing non-gendered categories have often been male-dominated.
Brian, 74, told The Sun that he fears decisions are being made in haste to appease activists without thinking through the consequences for artists.
“I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear,” he said. “Because people are so afraid of being called out. It is a horrible atmosphere.
“I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences. Some of these things are improvements and some are not. Some of them are depriving people. I would like to see a lot more care taken to make sure we don’t just jump on people and accuse them of this and that.”
In 2020, both the Album and Group of the Year categories had all-male nominees, and many critics believe gender-neutral shortlists will shut out women due to music industry sexism.
“I honestly don’t know if it disadvantages one group but it’s a decision that has been made without a lot of thought,” Brian added.
The Queen star went on to criticise the modern approach to social justice as failing to take people as they are, saying that “nobody cared” the band’s frontman Freddie Mercury was of Parsi-Indian heritage and born in Zanzibar.
“We didn’t have to stop and think, ‘Oh should we work with him? Is he the right colour or the right sex?” he explained.
Musing about what would happen if the group were young musicians in 2021, the rocker added, “I am sure if Queen started now we would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and a trans (person), but life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”