Dua Lipa demanded a pay rise for NHS staff as she gained two main awards on the Brits – the UK’s first main in-person ceremony of the Covid period.
And Little Combine known as out sexism within the music trade after turning into the primary all-female outfit to win greatest British group.
The opposite huge winners on the evening had been J Hus, Harry Types and Taylor Swift.
The check occasion at London’s O2 Enviornment befell with a 4,000-strong viewers and no social distancing or face masks.
Elsewhere, rapper Headie One used his efficiency to criticise the federal government, whereas highlighting the work performed by footballer and free faculty meals campaigner Marcus Rashford in one in all his verses.
On a bissextile year, the 2021 Brits had been very a lot a Lipa 12 months although, because the singer gained two of the three awards for which she was nominated.
Future Nostalgia, final 12 months’s biggest-selling LP within the UK, predictably gained greatest album.
However it was after successful the most effective solo feminine gong, her first of the evening, that the star known as on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to present nurses and NHS staff pay rise, versus merely claps.
This 12 months, every of the award trophies got here in two elements and Dua devoted hers to British nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu – who she famous has spent “a stellar nursing profession combating racial injustice” and “defending frontline staff”.
“She has additionally mentioned that there is a huge disparity between gratitude and respect for frontline staff,” mentioned the singer. “As a result of it is superb to clap for them, however we have to pay them.
“So I feel what we should always do, is we should always all give a large, huge spherical of applause and provides Boris a message that all of us assist a good pay rise is for our frontline.”
The applause, at the least, was the forthcoming and loud.
Earlier than all that she carried out a medley hits from her newest floor-filling document.
It was a visible love letter to her house metropolis of London, full with Tube celloists and a union jack skirt which evoked reminiscences of Spice Woman Geri Halliwell’s well-known patriotic costume.
‘Male dominance, misogyny, sexism’
The evening’s huge winner additionally shared her delight at seeing extra girls on each the stage and the winners’ podium – a number of years after she known as for precisely that from the identical spot.
Ladies gained 4 of the 5 combined classes.
One such instance, Little Combine devoted their award to a few of the nice all-female bands who’ve been ignored for the award down the years.
“It isn’t straightforward, being a feminine within the UK pop trade,” mentioned Leigh-Anne Pinnock whereas accepting their award.
“We have seen white, male dominance, misogyny and sexism, and an absence of variety.
“We’re proud that we have caught collectively, surrounded ourselves with sturdy girls and are actually utilizing our voices greater than ever.”
“The truth that a lady band has by no means gained this award actually does communicate volumes,” added bandmate Jade Thirlwall. “So this award is not only for us, it is for the Spice Ladies, Sugbabes, All Saints, Ladies Aloud.
“All the unbelievable feminine bands – this one’s for you.”
For the reason that departure of Jesy Nelson, Little Combine are actually a three-piece, and two of them – Pinnock and Perrie Edwards – have lately introduced that they’re pregnant.
Rapper J Hus was not readily available on the evening to choose up his award for greatest male solo star.
However Harry Types was – in sometimes well-tailored vogue in a brown and white examine swimsuit – to gather greatest British single for his ubiquitous hit Water Melon.
If final month’s Oscars befell in tinsel-town then the Brits was very a lot tonsil-town, as spectators underwent Covid checks on their method into the occasion.
The occasion shaped half the federal government’s pilot scheme for reopening reside occasions safely, which incorporates the forthcoming FA Cup Remaining.
The reside viewers of about 4,000 folks was about one-fifth of the O2’s capability and greater than half of the ticket-holders had been key staff from Higher London and their company.
A number of performances had been pre-recorded together with Coldplay’s present opener from a pontoon on the River Thames.
They carried out their new single Larger Energy with just a little assist from some holograms and pyrotechnics.
Earlier than the occasion, US pop star Taylor Swift – who greatest worldwide group-winners Haim described as “probably the most unbelievable human being” – was introduced as the primary feminine winner of the worldwide icon award.
In successful the award she adopted within the footsteps of Sir Elton John, David Bowie and Robbie Williams.
In the one different award introduced earlier than the occasion, younger singer Griff was named because the winner of the rising star prize, and she or he demonstrated why with a career-defining efficiency.
Earlier winners of the award embody Adele, who went on to win a bunch of extra senior Brit Awards within the years that adopted, together with greatest feminine, album and single a few instances over.
The present completed with a efficiency from Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and a digital Pink, alongside the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Belief Choir.
Earlier than introducing them, Jack Whitehall, internet hosting the awards for a fourth time, like most of the big-names on the evening gave “a large huge as much as the important thing staff right here tonight, and throughout the nation”.
“We are going to by no means have the ability to thanks guys sufficient,” he mentioned.
The 2021 Brit Awards winners in full:
Breakthrough Artist: Arlo Parks
Finest British Single: Harry Types, Watermelon Sugar
Feminine Solo Artist: Dua Lipa
Male Solo Artist: J Hus
Worldwide Feminine: Billie Eilish
Worldwide Male: The Weeknd
Worldwide Group: Haim
British Group : Little Combine
Finest Album: Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia
Rising Star: Griff
World Icon: Taylor Swift