Queen guitarist Brian May is speaking out against the Brit Awards for its decision to scrap gendered categories.
Earlier this week, organizers of the U.K.'s biggest music awards announced that they would be doing away with four awards, namely male solo artist, female solo artist, international male solo artist, and international female solo artist, in favor of two gender-neutral categories — Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Speaking with The Mirror, May said it was a decision that has been made "without enough thought."
"A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone," he said. "I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences. Some of these things are an improvement, some of them are not."
May also suggested that Queen would have struggled in today's climate for not being diverse enough.
"We would be forced to have people of different colors and different sexes and we would have to have a trans [person]" he said before going on to address cancel culture, saying that in modern-day society there is an "atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think."
"I think so many people are feeling, Hang on, this isn’t quite right. But they don’t dare say anything," he said. "Eventually there will be some kind of explosion."
There has been mounting pressure for the Brit Awards to be more inclusive in terms of gender. Artists like Sam Smith, who is non-binary and missed out on a nomination at this year's awards, previously called for change. In a now-deleted Instagram post cited by BBC, Smith called for awards shows to be more "reflective of the society we live in."
"The Brits have been an important part of my career," Smith said. "Music for me has always been about unification not division. I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let's celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class."
Commenting on the new categories, Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesperson for music industry body the BPI, which runs the awards, said the change made sense.
"If you were starting the awards from scratch today, you'd probably do it on these terms," Castaldo noted. "Why shouldn't the likes of Adele and Ed Sheeran be able to go head to head and be judged as artists ... assuming they're nominated?"
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