LONDON, Nov 24 — Britain’s pop music honours, the Brits, has doubled the number of nominees for its gender-neutral categories, organisers said today, after an outcry over an-all male list of best artist contenders at this year’s awards.

Both artist of the year and international artist of the year will count 10 nominees from next year, up from five.

The change, resulting after “extensive consultation” following the 2023 awards, is aimed at “improving representation and inclusion”, award organisers, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), said.

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The Brits will also add R&B to its list of genre categories, which already includes Alternative/ Rock, Dance, Pop and Hip Hop/Grime/Rap. Eligibility for the R&B genre award will cover a 24-month period instead of the usual 12 months to ensure more artists can qualify.

“The Brits is committed to making the show as inclusive and representative as possible, the changes to this year’s categories are part of an ongoing process of evolution, and we will continue to review, listen and learn,” BPI Chief Executive Jo Twist said in a statement.

Organisers introduced gender-neutral awards for local and international artists in 2022, getting rid of female and male categories.

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However, this year’s all-male list of artist of the year nominees — eventually won by singer Harry Styles — had irked many in the industry. In his acceptance speech, Styles dedicated the award to a list of female singers.

US music star Beyonce won international artist of the year at the ceremony, which was held in February.

Organisers also announced today that British visual artist Rachel Jones would be the trophy designer for the 2024 awards, which will be held on March 2 at London’s O2 Arena. — Reuters