David ‘Dave’ Orobosa Omoregie, Nigerian-British rapper, won the top gong at a male-dominated Brit Awards on Tuesday after delivering a politically-charged performance at British pop’s biggest night. The build-up to the annual awards show was overshadowed by criticism of the lack of female nominees in mixed gender categories, with just four women named in 25 spots — all losing out to men.
Twenty-one year-old Dave took home best album for his first offering “Psychodrama”, which addresses black identity and institutional racism, and topped the country’s music charts last year.
He earned a standing ovation at London’s O2 Arena for his performance of the album’s standout track ‘Black’, to which he added a new verse accusing prime minister, Boris Johnson, of being a “real racist” and calling out the press treatment of Prince Harry’s wife Meghan Markle.
Home Secretary Priti Patel told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t know how much [Dave] knows about the prime minister and whether he actually has met the prime minister or knows the prime minister.
“I work with the prime minister, I know Boris Johnson very well, no way is he a racist, so I think that is a completely wrong comment and it’s the wrong assertion to make against our prime minister.”
Downing Street said it wouldn’t comment on Dave’s remarks.
Dave’s rival in the nominations, indie newcomer Lewis Capaldi
Dave’s rival in the nominations, indie newcomer Lewis Capaldi, beat him to the awards for best new artist and best song for “Someone You Loved”
Glasgow-born Capaldi is riding high after his debut album, “Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent,” became Britain’s best-selling album of 2019.
But both Capaldi and Dave lost out on the best British male award to leading grime artist Stormzy, who delivered an explosive set that involved rain, firecrackers and more than fifty people on stage.
Collecting his award, he paid tribute to the women he works with.
“To be the best male, I have got the most incredible females in my team,” he said.
Billie Eilish has licence to thrill
Other winners included teenage sensation Billie Eilish, who won best international female solo artist and performed her new James Bond soundtrack during the ceremony.
The 18-year-old had been up against Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello and Lana del Rey.
“I felt very hated recently,” she told the audience, after having revealed she no longer reads social media comments.
“When I was on stage and I saw you guys all smiling at me it genuinely made me want to cry and I want to cry now.”
“No Time To Die” has already racked up nearly 26 million views on her YouTube channel, capping a remarkable few weeks for the singer who is the youngest artist to record a Bond track.
Brit Awards full list of winners
Here is the full list of winners (in bold) and the nominees from the Brit Awards 2020:
- Dave – Psychodrama
- Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head
- Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
- Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent
- Harry Styles – Fine Line
Best British female
- Freya Ridings
- FKA Twigs
- Charli XCX
Best British male
- Harry Styles
- Lewis Capaldi
- Michael Kiwanuka
Best British group
- Bring Me The Horizon
- D-Block Europe
Best new artist
- Lewis Capaldi
- Sam Fender
- Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
- Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
- Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
- Calvin Harris ft Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant
- Dave ft Burna Boy – Location
- Mark Ronson ft Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
- AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
- Tom Walker – Just You And I
- Sam Smith ft Normani – Dancing With A Stranger
- Stormzy – Vossi Bop
- Billie Eilish
- Ariana Grande
- Camila Cabello
- Lana Del Rey
- Tyler, The Creator
- Bruce Springsteen
- Burna Boy
- Dermot Kennedy
- Post Malone
Rising star award
- Joy Crookes
The Brit Awards have recognised the cream of British music since they were first held in 1977, but have often been peppered with scandal and farce.
The disproportionately male shortlists come despite the Brits’ voting academy undergoing a major overhaul in 2017 to make it more gender balanced and diverse, with hundreds of new members joining the nominating pool.
But while women were under-represented in the awards, black artists dominated the nominations in ‘best album’ and ‘best male’.
British artists account for an eighth of album sales worldwide, according to figures from BPI, which represents the British music industry.