At the recent 2023 Brit Awards, Harry Styles made a clean sweep of all four categories he was nominated for, including Artist of the Year. The AOTY category is one of two new gender-neutral categories, but only male artists were nominated for the award.
During his acceptance speech, Styles spoke about being “very aware” of his privilege in winning the category. The singer then dedicated his award to five overlooked female artists and his former boy band, One Direction.
At the recent 2023 Grammys, Styles also won the album of the year award, beating out Beyoncé and Adele. However, he was criticized for saying during his speech that experiences like this don’t happen to people like him often.
Read on to find out more.
Harry Styles Won All Of His Four Nominated Categories At The Brits
The 2023 Brit Awards was held recently in London on February 11th, and Styles was one of the highest winners of the night. The “Watermelon Sugar” singer won all four categories where he was nominated, including best album, artist of the year, song of the year, and best pop and R&B act.
The 29-year-old singer’s four wins came not long after the award organizers were criticized for nominating only male artists in a gender-neutral category. In November last year, the official Brit Awards account tweeted the organization had scrapped male and female categories to make the show more gender inclusive.
Harry Styles Says He’s Aware Of His Privilege
During his acceptance speech for his artist of the year award, Styles shared his appreciation for the honor but said he’s aware of his privileged position. He said, “I’m really really grateful for this, and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight.”
The “Sign of The Times” singer then dedicated his award to several female artists that were snubbed for the category. He said per Insider, “This award is dedicated to Rina, Charli, Florence, Mabel, and Becky.” Charli XCX was photographed at the after-party wearing a shirt with “Real Winner” printed on it.
During his acceptance speech, Styles also made a special shout-out to his former One Direction bandmates, saying his success wouldn’t have happened without them. He said, “I want to thank Niall, Louis, Liam, and Zayn because I wouldn’t be here without you either.”
He Won The Grammy For Album Of The Year
At the recently held 2023 Grammy, Styles won the album of the year award for his third solo album, “Harry’s House.” During his acceptance speech, he said, “On nights like tonight, it’s obviously so important for us to remember that there is no such thing as ‘best’ in music.”
He continued, “This is really, really kind. I’m so, so grateful. This doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” Styles’ comment about “people like me” sparked immediate backlash on social media, with people wondering why he would say that as a white man. Fans speculated that he meant being a former boy band member or growing up without music connections.
Harry Styles Was Criticized For His Acceptance Speech
An Insider report covered criticism of Style’s acceptance speech, especially those noting that it’s majorly white men that have won that category. In the 65 years since the Grammys began, only 11 Black musicians have won the album of the year award.
According to the news outlet, the award has been given to white male artists almost half of the time, starting with Henry Mancini in 1959. Styles is now the 33rd white male artist to receive the award, with previous winners including Beck, Daft Punk, and Mumford & Sons.
Andrew Unterberger covered the controversy for Billboard, writing, “As artists from so many marginalized groups are fighting so hard to be properly recognized and represented in the industry’s mainstream, for a good-looking cis white man — who’s spent nearly his entire career at the top — to claim any kind of underdog or outsider status doesn’t quite track.”