British girl group Little Mix walked away with the prestigious Best British Single at this years BRIT Awards. While they were predicted by many media outlets to win in the Best Group category such as Youtube, Google Play, Capital Official, etc, it went to English rock band The 1975 instead.
Despite also losing the popular-induced vote for British Video to One Direction, who’ve all been working incredibly hard on their solo projects, the girl group strongly appreciate the lads for continually showing them support.
Looking at the history of the BRIT Awards, girl groups have generally been snubbed even when catapulting to the top of the charts and receiving worldwide success. This stems back to the height of ‘Spicemania’, when cultural phenomenon the Spice Girls, lost British Group to an all male-dominated category. While it unfortunately still rings true 20 years later, the push for the more better recognition of marginalized acts continues to be incredibly important.
Representation is a key factor, and a similar approach to this importance takes us back to singer/songwriter Beyonce’s speech at the 2017 Grammy Awards after winning Best Urban Contemporary Album.
It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the Grammys, and see themselves. And have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent, and capable.
This problem of representation not only ties in with race, but with gender also. Since the 1920’s and beyond, female vocal artists have been marginalized. Sherrie Tucker, an American Studies professor from Kansas University discussed this problem and its exposure during the jazz era.
She noted that: “all-girl bands found themselves once again marginalized at the edge of the jazz clubs, before disappearing from the cultural scene. But on top of that were the sexual, gender and racial tensions that they frequently endured. At times, female bands made for loose talk around the bar”.
When any kind of act, whether girl band, solo female artist, etc wins an award – this matters. It matters because they project an image of representation that girls can be anything they want to be and achieve anything they want to be.
Pop culture is derived from looking at artists and being inspired by them. Consequently, if girl groups and female artists (most notably of color) continue to be a shining light of inspirations to woman (and men) of all ages, have awards shows truly disregarded or embraced this factor?
Seemingly enough, there’s still some hope at the end of the tunnel. The British groups one BRIT win may sound dismal, but this one BRIT speaks volumes about recognition. One things for sure, if present groups like Little Mix continue to embrace their womanhood with confidence and continue to be positively represented in the media for their success, things might just be heading in the right direction.
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