Update: According to a spokesperson for the British Phonographic Industry, the BRITs statement against sexual harassment and assault is not financially tied to any movements or funds at this time.
This article was originally published on February 17, 2018.
Support for the Time's Up and #MeToo movements at the aforementioned awards shows have previously been planned by attendees and outside groups. The British Phonographic Industry, who puts on the BRIT awards, has invited artists and attending guests to wear a white rose pin "as a symbol of solidarity." They partnered with Voices in Entertainment, the collective of female music executives who were the driving force behind artists wearing white roses at the Grammys this year. "If the Brit awards can help shine a light on such a sensitive topic, our hope is that it will ultimately help," awards' chair Jason Iley told The Guardian. Last year, BPI walked the walk by inviting 700 new voting members to take their 70% male voting base to nearly 50-50 split between men and women. The big question people are asking is, what is the industry doing to instigate change?
The nod to the suffragette movement has been met with a mixed response. Some feel that every little bit helps, while others feel like sartorial support does little to enact lasting transformation for a systemic problem. Chief executive of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, Vick Bain responded to The Guardian explaining why she will not be participating. "I personally will not be wearing a flower, not because I don’t have sympathy with the cause – I myself have experienced sexual harassment – but I feel however well-intentioned this action is, we should all be focused on creating meaningful change," she said. Others echoed her sentiment. What is a tribute if there are no lasting effects? Women have been speaking out for years. Often, their careers suffer as a result.
Lasting change in the music industry is an uphill battle. Not only is standing by women seen as a threat to profitability, but the call for change on an institutional level is met with unconscious bias. The music industry remains a boys club. A survey conducted by UK Music found that while women make up more than half of all entry-level positions in the industry, 60% to be exact, only 30% of senior executive roles are held by women.
We have reached out to BPI for clarification as to what their support of the Time's Up movement entails.