British grime star Stormzy admits he is proud of sparking the diversity conversation at the Brit Awards but is more than happy for a pop act like Little Mix to win. In 2016, the Shut Up rapper criticised the music awards for the lack of urban acts nominated prompting the Brits committee to revise its voting process.
Ahead of the Brits 2017 tonight (22 February), Stormzy, 23, is nominated in the British breakthrough act category alongside Skepta, Rag'N'Bone Man and Anne-Marie and Blossoms. The recognition comes one year after the south London rapper slammed the Brits on the song, One Take Freestyle, contributing to the #BritsSoWhite campaign.
Reflecting on his involvement in the Brits criticism, Stormzy told Apple's Beats 1 radio: "After the fuss I caused last year, I remember seeing the whole backlash of it and thinking, OK, I'm happy it's caused backlash, but I didn't want too much backlash."
He continued: "It could've gone in a weird way of, OK, we haven't supported grime and black music, so let's just go crazy and nominate everyone, and I was thinking that's wrong if someone doesn't deserve an award. Last year, it was debatable, last year I probably would have been eligible for best breakthrough, and I would have said cool, there might have been one or two people I felt like my weight could have stood next too."
Alongside grime king Skepta, female pop group Little Mix are leading the nominations in three categories. Although he has pushed for diversity, Stormzy is happy for the girl group to win if they triumph based on talent alone. The MC said: "But if Little Mix need to win it because they've smashed it this year, they need to win it.
"It doesn't matter about giving it to whoever to make it look... so that's what I was worried about. After seeing the nominations come out this year, I feel like every single person they nominated, like Skepta being nominated for three, that's right, that's deserved, Kano being nominated, that's deserved, Craig David, it's all deserved."
After other musicians like Lily Allen joined in on the backlash against the awards, the Brits announced a huge shake-up to improve the inclusion of the black, Asian and minority ethnic community. The Voting Academy confirmed they would send invites to 1,200 or 57% new voters.
Dermot O'Leary and Emma Willis will host the Brits at London's O2 Arena with performances expected from the likes of Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Little Mix and The 1975. The Brits 2017 can be seen tonight at 8pm from ITV.