Harry Styles lit up the stage at the 2023 Brit Awards in London on Feb. 11. After opening the show with a dazzling performance of “As It Was” – in a red-hot sequin jacket, no less – Styles accepted the award for artist of the year, presented by Salma Hayek. His fellow nominees included Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, and Stormzy. While the show has made attempts at expanding its efforts for inclusivity in recent years, adopting gender-neutral categories last year, the lack of women nominees in the artist of the year category show that there is still work to be done. The “Daylight” singer took the moment to acknowledge the women who were snubbed for the award.
“I’m really, really grateful for this and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight.”
“I’m really, really grateful for this and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight,” Styles said. “So this award is for Rina [Sawayama], Charli [XCX], Florence [Welch], Mabel [Hill], and Becky [Hill]. Thank you so much!”
A week earlier, at the Grammys in Los Angeles, Styles accepted the award for album of the year, making him the 33rd white man to take home the title in the show’s 65-year history. On stage, Styles commented, “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” sparking controversy among fans on social media. While some fans directed their anger and confusion at Styles, award shows have a long history of excluding women nominees.
During his Brits speech, Styles also thanked his “understanding, patient, loving family,” and his mom “for signing me up for ‘X Factor’ without telling me. I literally wouldn’t be here without you.” Before concluding his speech, Styles extended his thanks to Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayne Malik, his original One Direction family. “I wouldn’t be here without you either. Thank you so much.”
Following his speech, Styles took a shot on stage with host Mo Gilligan, a tradition he began in 2020 when he took a shot with host Jack Whitehall. Award in hand, Styles headed back to the audience, where he shared a sweet embrace with his sister, Gemma.
See clips of the “Love of My Life” singer’s acceptance speech ahead.