In the past week, we have seen The BRIT Awards embracing diversity like never before, and the perfectionist façade of the Oscars slip away. Both events were very different, but both will have lasting influences on popular culture.


The BRITS — The year of overt politics and musical diversity.

The BRIT Awards marks itself as an annual event that celebrates the best of our home-grown talent. In years gone by, the show was made memorable by its drunken guests, Adele giving the media the finger, and Madonna suffering a painful wardrobe malfunction.

This year will be remembered for other reasons. A nod towards recognising diversity in British music, a political puppet show by America’s democratic pop princess, and a lengthy obituary for those we lost in 2016.

Pushed to the forefront of this year’s ceremony was the UK’s long-hidden grime scene. Whereas in 2010 the stage may have been cleared for Cheryl Cole to lip-sync questionably to ‘Fight For This Love’, performances this year included Skepta and Stormzy. The latter of the two has already sailed to the top spot in the iTunes chart.

Although the grime scene has been long-established in the UK, it has never really received as much recognition as other more palatable music styles. This recognition and airtime from ITV show a step towards a more diverse and open direction.

Perhaps the most shocking performance of the night however was that by staunch Clintonite, Katy Perry. Beginning in a relatively mundane manner, Perry was eventually joined on stage by two larger-than-life dummies, dressed almost-unquestionably as Donald Trump and Theresa May.

Coming together to join hands as Perry finished her performance, the jibe was perhaps the most obvious slandering of British Government ever seen at the Brit Awards. Although her most recent single is still confusing critics with its hidden meaning and quirky video, Perry sent a clear message to the leaders of the free world through the medium of ITV1 and a series of paper houses.


The Oscars — The year of undoing and underdogs

The Oscars are the best yearly showcase of Hollywood’s greatest. Well-dressed, well-groomed, enjoying a coordinated evening of well-timed perfection, it is perhaps the glitziest event in the calendar. Queue, 2017 …

Following on from cast member Emma Stone winning Best Actress, nobody was particularly surprised when La La Land was announced as Best Picture.

One small problem though … it was not the winner.

Indeed, in a rare occasion, the perfectionist façade of the Academy Awards slipped off as Jordan Horowitz confirmed that the wrong winner had been announced. The room, and the world shuffled in awkwardness as it was demanded how this slip-up had happened.

In reality, the winner was Moonlight, a low-budget movie on the coming-of-age of a black teen in Miami which beat one of the most acclaimed movies of the year to the main gong.

Much like the Brits, the win can be seen as a significant move towards diverse recognition. A movement that is furthered by Viola Davis’ win as Best Supporting Actress, making her the first black female ever to win an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony.

Unfortunately, the global media has focussed more on the 89th Academy Awards follies rather than its fortunes. As the Hollywood elites begin investigating how this embarrassment happened, swept under the rug will be the movement that this year’s Oscars represented.

Hopefully when the dust settles in the corridors of the media, the awards will be recognised for the various shifts they have represented in the mainstream world.

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