Despite having passed away for more than a year, David Bowie was once again remembered at the 2017 Brit Awards at the 02 Arena in London last February. The late Life on Mars singer garnered two of the major honors at the Awards’ 37th edition.
Bowie was named Best Male Solo Artist while his ultimate effort, Blackstar, was adjudged Best Album. His son, the filmmaker Duncan Jones, accepted the award while referencing the song “Kooks” from the Hunky Dory album: “This award is for all the kooks and all the people who make the kooks.”
The music industry and fans across the world mourned when David died of cancer in January last year. Everyone from Billy Corgan to the Rolling Stones evoked sadness over the star’s death. Duncan Jones put into words the reason why the Thin White Duke (as his father was called, among other monikers) was well-loved and merited respect even from the grave: “”He’s always been there supporting people who think they’re a little bit weird or a little bit strange. He’s ways been there for them.”
Other Brit Awards 2017 Winners
Other winners included Adele for Global Success, Emeli Sande for Best Female Solo Artist, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man for British Breakthrough Act and Critics’ Choice, Drake for International Male Solo Artist, Beyonce for International Female Solo Artist, and One Direction for Best Artist Video. Little Mix was the show’s starting act.
Ed Sheeran also performed and was joined by South London MC Stormzy in rendering a new version of the single, Shape of You. Katy Perry also became a spectacle with her new single Chained To The Rhythm and was flanked by two giant skeleton mannequins, one of which was wearing the trademark red tie associated with Donald Trump. Grime artist Skepta, however, was the crowd favorite with a performance of Shut Down.
No Acclaim for Grime
Grime artists, though invited to the event, did not receive recognition. For the uninitiated, grime is played faster than hip-hop, and has its roots in Jamaican ragga culture, dancehall and rave culture, rather than American rap.
Drake, Lily Allen and Kanye West have all expressed support for grime. Lily lamented that “music industry figures don’t necessarily care about music…they vote tactically for their labels’ artists to win.”
Homage for George Michael
George Michael was another gone-but-not-forgotten artist (who died in 2016) was given a tribute at the awards show. The voice behind such hits as Last Christmas and Careless Whisper when he was still with Wham! was honored by his former band mates.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin contributed to the homage by singing Michael’s A Different Corner, simultaneous with a recording of the star’s own voice. For their part, Wham! band mates Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirlie made an emotional speech, saying: “His beautiful voice will live on forever as a gift to us all.”