The star has won three BRIT Awards in the past, and was nominated for the 2015 British Male Solo Artist gong. However, Sam came out as non-binary in 2019, and now goes by they/them pronouns.
Addressing the BRITs nomination process in a statement on Instagram, Sam – who released warmly-received album Love Goes last year – said: “The Brits have been an important part of my career, one of my earliest achievements was winning Critics Choice in 2014.
“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 [sic].”
Responding to Sam’s observations, a BRITs rep said: “The BRITs love Sam. Sam won our Critics’ Choice Award (now Rising Star) in 2014 and went on to enjoy incredible international stardom, winning more BRIT Awards and nominations along the way as well as giving us some of the most memorable performances ever. Sam is an extraordinary British artist and we agree with what they have said today.
“The BRITs are committed to evolving the show and the gendered categories are very much under review. But any changes made to be more inclusive need to be just that – if a change unintentionally leads to less inclusion then it risks being counterproductive to diversity and equality. We need to consult more widely before changes are made to make sure we get it right.”
The BRIT Awards took place on 11 May 2021.