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Stormzy and Dua Lipa Win Big at 2018 Brit Awards

Stormzy and Dua Lipa scooped the best British male and female solo artist prizes at the Brit Awards on Wednesday, the U.K.’s equivalent of the Grammys. Stormzy’s “Gang Signs & Prayer” also won for best album, and Lipa was named best breakthrough act.

Gorillaz was named best British group, while the Foo Fighters won the award for best international group for the fourth time, beating out the likes of Arcade Fire and Haim Polydor on the most important night in the British music industry. “Long live rock ‘n’ roll!” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl shouted onstage at The O2 arena in London.

Kendrick Lamar took home the trophy for best international male solo artist. Lorde was named best international female solo artist, edging out Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift, among others.

Ed Sheeran was among the performers at the annual bash, giving a rendition of “Supermarket Flowers.” Sheeran was nominated in four categories, but went home empty-handed except for a special award recognizing his global success.

Jack Whitehall, the British comic and actor, hosted the proceedings, which were live streamed and shown on ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster. Justin Timberlake, clad in black except for a pair of bright red sneakers, opened the show with “Midnight Summer Jam,” then was joined by fellow American singer Chris Stapleton and a choir onstage for “Say Something.”

The ceremony also featured homegrown acts such as Rag’n’Bone Man, Jorja Smith, and Sam Smith, who was snubbed in the award nominations. “If you like Adele songs but find them too upbeat, you’re in for a treat, as Sam Smith will be performing,” Whitehall joked.

As at the Grammys, nominees had been urged to wear white roses in support of the movement against harassment in the music business.

The first honors of the evening, the British solo artists awards, went to Stormzy and Lipa, who both won their first-ever Brits. During his performance — a medley of his songs “Blinded By Your Grace” and “Big for Your Boots” — Stormzy delivered a freestyle slamming British Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, in which at least 71 people died. “Yo, Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?” he rapped. “You’re criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages/ You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages/ You should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

Lipa, who had already made history as the first female artist to be nominated for five awards in a single year, took the opportunity to speak about female empowerment.”I also want to thank every single female that has been on this stage before me, that has given girls like me, not just girls in the music industry but girls in society, [a] place to be inspired by, to look up to, and that have allowed us to dream this big,” Lipa said. “Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world.”

Lipa is the most-streamed artist in the U.K. in the last 12 months. “If she had a pound for every time someone listened to her on Spotify, they would finally be paying an acceptable level of royalty,” Whitehall said dryly.

It was a big night for Warner Music Group — home to Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Gorillaz, Stormzy and others — which won more than half of the awards announced during the show. Max Lousada, the company’s global CEO of recorded music, said after the show: “Tonight was a celebration of the unprecedented opportunities for home-grown U.K. talent on the global stage. Artists like Dua, Stormzy, Ed, Liam, Rita and Gorillaz are making hugely popular and influential music that is moving culture and cascading throughout the world.”

In what may have been the show’s most moving moment, Gary Barlow introduced a performance of “Live Forever” by Liam Gallagher in memory of the 22 people who died last May in a terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande show in Manchester, England. Barlow paid tribute to the One Love benefit concert that Grande organized soon afterward.

“It was an event that epitomized the human spirit,” Barlow said, “an event that showed hate will never win and fear will never divide us.”

The full list of nominees and winners (* denotes winner)

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST
Ed Sheeran – Asylum, Warner Music UK
Liam Gallagher – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Loyle Carner – AMF, Universal Music UK
Rag’n’Bone Man – Best Laid Plans/Columbia, Sony Music UK
* Stormzy – Merky, Distributor: ADA

BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
* Dua Lipa – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Jessie Ware – Island/PMR Records, Universal Music
Kate Tempest – Fiction Records, Universal Music
Laura Marling – More Alarming, Kobalt
Paloma Faith – RCA, Sony Music UK

BRITISH GROUP
* Gorillaz – Parlophone, Warner Music UK
London Grammar – Ministry of Sound, Sony Music UK
Royal Blood – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Wolf Alice – Dirty Hit, Dirty Hit
The xx – Young Turks, XL Beggars

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT
Dave
* Dua Lipa – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
J Hus – Black Butter, Sony Music UK
Loyle Carner – AMF, Universal Music UK
Sampha – Young Turks, XL Beggars

CRITICS’ CHOICE
Jorja Smith

BRITISH PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Steve Mac

BRITISH SINGLE
Calvin Harris Ft Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry/Big Sean – “Feels” – Columbia, Sony Music UK
Clean Bandit Ft Zara Larsson – “Symphony” – Atlantic, Warner Music UK
Dua Lipa – “New Rules” – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You” – Asylum, Warner Music UK
J Hus – “Did You See” – Black Butter, Sony Music UK
Jax Jones Ft Raye – “You Don’t Know Me” – Polydor, Universal Music
Jonas Blue Ft William Singe – “Mama” – Positiva, Universal Music
Liam Payne Ft Quavo – “Strip That Down” – Capitol, Universal Music
Little Mix – “Touch” – Syco Music, Sony Music UK
* Rag’n’Bone Man – “Human” – Best Laid Plans/Columbia, Sony Music UK

BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Dua Lipa – “Dua Lipa” – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Ed Sheeran – “Divide” – Asylum, Warner Music UK
J Hus – “Common Sense” – Black Butter, Sony Music UK
Rag’n’Bone Man – “Human” – Best Laid Plans/Columbia, Sony Music UK
* Stormzy – “Gang Signs & Prayer” – Merky, Distributor: ADA

BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO OF THE YEAR 
Anne-Marie – “Ciao Adios” – Asylum/Major Tom’s, Warner Music UK
Calvin Harris Ft Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry/Big Sean – “Feels” – Columbia, Sony Music UK
Clean Bandit Ft Zara Larsson – “Symphony” – Atlantic, Warner Music UK
Dua Lipa – “New Rules” – Warner Bros, Warner Music UK
Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You” – Asylum, Warner Music UK
* Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times” – Columbia, Sony Music UK
Jonas Blue Ft William Singe – “Mama” – Positiva, Universal Music
Liam Payne Ft Quavo – “Strip That Down” – Capitol, Universal Music
Little Mix – “Touch” – Syco Music, Sony Music UK
ZAYN and Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” (Fifty Shades Darker Soundtrack) – RCA/Republic Records, Sony Music/Universal Music

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST
Beck – EMI, Universal Music
Childish Gambino – Glassnote, Universal Music
DJ Khaled – Black Butter/We The Best, Sony Music UK
Drake – Cash Money/Republic Records, Universal Music
* Kendrick Lamar – Interscope, Universal Music

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
Alicia Keys – RCA, Sony Music UK
Björk – One Little Indian/Universal Music
* Lorde – Universal Music
P!nk – RCA, Sony Music UK
Taylor Swift – EMI, Universal Music

INTERNATIONAL GROUP
Arcade Fire – Columbia, Sony Music UK
* Foo Fighters – Columbia, Sony Music UK
Haim Polydor – Universal Music
The Killers – EMI, Universal Music
LCD Soundsystem – Columbia/DFA, Sony Music UK

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