AAP Entertainment

Rapper cites Meghan at UK music awards

By AAP Newswire

Soulful London rapper Dave brought a political edge to the UK music industry's Brit Awards, giving a performance alleging racism in Britain's government and in media coverage of the royal family before he won the coveted album of the year prize.

Previously an unpredictable and sometimes ramshackle event, the Brits have been refashioned into a slick showcase for British talent in recent years. Organisers of this year's show culled several award categories to make more room for performances by UK and international stars.

Billie Eilish gave the first public performance of her James Bond theme song No Time to Die. Lizzo got the audience worked up with her Grammy-winning anthem Truth Hurts. Stormzy brought on Nigerian singer Burna Boy and scores of extras for a medley of hits.

Dave held the audience rapt with a piano-accompanied rendition of Black, a song about the experience of black people in Britain.

The performance featured new lyrics that accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of racism and contrasted "how the news treats Kate versus how they treated Meghan", a reference to the wives of Prince William and Prince Harry.

The prime ministers office declined to comment on Dave's criticism of Johnson.

Accepting the album of the year trophy for for his self-reflective Psychodrama, the 21-year-old rap artist gave a shout out to other young people with big aspirations living in British cities.

"All my young kings and queens that are chasing their dreams, I'm no different from you," he said.

Billie Eilish and Tyler the Creator were among the international winners at the awards. Eilish took the award for best international female artist.

The 18-year-old superstar, who won five Grammy Awards last month and has spoken about mental health struggles, told the audience: "I have felt very hated recently."

"When I was on the stage and I saw you guys all smiling at me it genuinely made me want to cry and I want to cry now," she said.

Grime artist Stormzy was named British male artist of the year, the second time he has won the award. Singer-songwriter Mabel, daughter of musician Neneh Cherry, was named UK female solo artist of the year.

Septuagenarian rocker-turned-crooner Rod Stewart closed the show, accompanied by former Faces band mates Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones.

The awards have been criticised over the years for failing to reflect the diversity of British music and being slow to embrace the emergence of genres including home-grown British grime and hip-hop.