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The 1975 collect their award for Best British Group performs onstage at the Brit Awards in London, Feb. 20, 2019.
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
Girls & Women

The 1975 Use BRIT Stage to Make Stinging Comment on Misogyny in the Music Industry

Why Global Citizens Should Care
A New York Times investigation on February 13 alleged that musician Ryan Adams sexually harassed and emotionally abused fans and fellow artists. It’s a tragic but common story in the post-#MeToo music industry — and if we’re going to achieve Global Goal #5 and defeat gender inequality, it’s vital that artists with platforms combat such scandals head on. Join our movement and take action here to help realise a world where women are equal to men.

The 1975 just won the BRIT Awards.

Not for picking up the gong for Best British Group or Best Album; and not for performing “Sincerity Is Scary”, while donning the same svelte rabbit hat from the slick original music video. Notice to ITV: that is not a Pokemon!

No — the indie pop powerhouse came out on top because they made an excellent point about misogyny in the music industry at the UK’s biggest entertainment awards show. Or rather, the band did better: they quoted an incredible female journalist who made the vital point for them.

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After winning the BRIT for Best British Group, frontman Matty Healy, 29, made the acceptance speech, backed by fellow band members Ross MacDonald, 29, Adam Hann, 30, and George Daniel, 28.

“I just want you to listen to me for one sec,” Healy began, before quoting the Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes, who on February 14 wrote about the sexual abuse allegations levelled against indie songwriter Ryan Adams by the New York Times. 

The excerpt read: “Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of ‘difficult’ artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art.”

Misogyny is especially prevalent in the indie music community: men with guitars can proclaim themselves to be feminists, benefit from the resulting popularity, while sometimes perpetuating a hidden cycle of abuse. Just look at the accusations flown against Hookworms, The Orwells, and Nothing But Thieves.

Snapes’ piece demonstrated the familiarity of the allegations against Adams for women working in the music industry — and went in hard on the tired, dangerous concept of the “male genius.” 

Read More: 6 Moments That Made the 2018 BRIT Awards the Most Powerful Ever

“It is, in the words of the New Statesman critic Anna Leszkiewicz, women doing ‘the boring work of killing our idols’ – the male artists who let us down time after time – while male predators kill the dreams of the young women who admire them,” Snapes writes. 

“Two women in the NYT’s report about Adams say that their interactions with him extinguished their desire to ever make music again,” she continues. “If the allegations are true, these women – and probably thousands more with similar stories about other men – are the collateral damage of a protectionist industry whose power brokers operate out of fear of their own irrelevance. It is pathetic.”

The night as a whole wasn’t quite akin to 2018’s festival of feminism, when artists and label execs alike wore Time’s Up pins to protest the culture of sexual harassment in the workplace. But Little Mix did win Best Video for their patriarchy-smashing video “Woman Like Me” — and the best moments all spoke to the feeling that gender equality remained on the agenda.

Like how host Jack Whitehall called television troll Piers Morgan a “dutty wasteman” on live television; or when BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac cheered that there were now as many female nominees as male; or as Jess Glynne, backed by a band of powerful women clad in white, performed her hit “Thursday” as she removed all her makeup.

And then Beyoncé and JAY-Z, claiming with ease the viral highlight of the evening, accepting the award for Best International Group while standing in front of a portrait of Meghan Markle, complete with royal crown.

“In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas,”  Beyoncé said in an Instagram post. “Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy.”