Dua Lipa accepts her British Album award at the BRIT Awards 2021 in London on Tuesday. AFP
An audience of 4,000 witnessed the glitz of Britain’s leading music prize ceremony at the O2 Arena as part of a test return to mass attendance events in the age of the coronavirus.
Among them were 2,500 key health workers and their guests who had received tickets in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.
Lipa, who took home the British female solo artist and album of the year titles, highlighted the words of nurse and academic Elizabeth Anionwu to say there was a “massive disparity between gratitude and respect” for those on the health front line.
“I think what we should do is we should all give a massive, massive round of applause and give (British Prime Minister) Boris (Johnson) a message that we all support a fair pay rise for our front line,” she said.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock (left), Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards of Little Mix pose with their award in London. AFP
In her acceptance speeches, the “Levitating” singer also paid tribute to Anionwu, who has campaigned against racial injustice for decades, Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole and Joaquin Garcia, who jumped into the River Thames near London Bridge to try to save a woman last month.
Olubunmi-Adewole, 20, did not survive the rescue attempt.
Taylor Swift said it was an “incredible honour” to receive the global icon title, which has previously been awarded to superstars such as Elton John and David Bowie.
“I’m really proud to be part of this musical community especially in a year where we needed music so much,” Swift said. “And what we needed even more was the help and support of the NHS and the key workers that are here for us tonight.”
Little Mix became the first all-female band to win best British group, and called attention to “sexism and a lack of diversity” within the music industry.
Harry Styles took best British single for his song “Watermelon Sugar,” while J Hus received best British male solo artist.
Female singer-songwriters Arlo Parks and Griff took home the British breakthrough artist and rising star awards respectively.
P!nk and Rag'n'Bone Man perform during the Brit Awards 2021 at the O2 Arena, in London, Tuesday. AP
Former US first lady Michelle Obama sent a video message as she presented The Weeknd with the international male solo artist prize.
Billie Eilish was named international female solo artist winner, while Haim were dubbed best international group.
Live performers at the ceremony, which was hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included Lipa, Coldplay and a collaboration between Rag’n’Bone Man, P!nk and National Health Service choirs.
It was the largest audience for a live music event in the UK since March 2020, when pandemic restrictions were first introduced.
The event is part of the government’s Events Research Program, which has recently seen crowds return to soccer matches, an outdoor concert and a nightclub.
Attendees were not socially distanced or wearing face masks, but had to provide a negative coronavirus test ahead of the show.
“It’s the first event we’ve been to since the pandemic, there’s a great buzz,” said police nurse Brian George, who brought his 18-year-old daughter to the ceremony.
“I’m hoping that with a few more events like this it’ll be like, by the autumn, let’s open up everything again,” he said. “That would be fantastic.”
Those who attended also will be tested and monitored after the event as part of the research.
Britain has recorded more than 127,500 coronavirus deaths, but deaths have dropped to single digits after a lockdown at the start of 2021 and the rapid vaccination rollout.
Lockdown is slowly being lifted and measures are set to be further eased in England on Monday with the reopening of indoor hospitality venues and outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people. Social distancing guidance will remain in place.
All restrictions have been set out to be lifted by June 21 under the government’s current roadmap, with gigs and music festivals due to return for the first time since early 2020.
Dua Lipa and Priyanka Chopra are among the stars to show support for the people of Beirut following a large explosion in the city.
The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on "The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s.
Arjun Kapoor is joining hands with international stars Jason Derulo, Dua Lipa, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Becky G, among others, to raise funds for those affected by coronavirus globally.
Indian TV star and former contestant of famous reality show Bigg Boss 13, Shehnaaz Kaur Gill is back on social media after two months.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal in California granted Jolie’s request to have the judge removed on 23 July, raising questions over the judge’s ability to remain impartial.
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