Queen guitarist Brian May is making his opinion known about The Brit Awards getting rid of the Male and Female categories in favor of the gender-neutral category Artist of the Year
“It’s a decision that has been made without enough thought. A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone,” May told The Mirror at ITV’s Palooza event in London.
May’s words come after artist Sam Smith criticized the male/female categories because they exclude non-binary artists. As a result, The Brit Awards organization did away with four male/female categories, reducing them to two gender-neutral categories. The Male Solo Artist of the Year and Female Solo Artist of the Year categories have been combined into Artist of the Year, and the International Male Solo Artist of the Year and International Female Solo Artist of the Year have combined to become International Artist of the Year.
“I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences,” May added. “Some of these things are an improvement, some of them are not.”
When addressing cancel culture that has become so prevalent in today’s day and age, May said there is an “atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think.” He continued, “I think so many people are feeling, ‘Hang on, this isn’t quite right.’ But they don’t dare say anything. Eventually, there will be some kind of explosion.”
May also added that Queen’s frontman, the late Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991, would have found today’s culture “difficult” and the band probably wouldn’t have fared well in the current time if they were just beginning.
“Freddie came from Zanzibar, he wasn’t British, he wasn’t white as such – nobody cares, nobody ever, ever discussed it,” May said. “He was a musician, he was our friend, he was our brother. We didn’t have to stop and think: ‘Ooh, now, should we work with him? Is he the right color? Is he the right sexual proclivity?’ None of that happened, and now I find it frightening that you have to be so calculating about everything.”
He added, “We would be forced to have people of different colors and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person]. You know life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.”
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen