Dave performs on stage at The BRIT Awards 2020
Getty Images / Dave J Hogan

The 40th annual BRIT Awards took place last night and proved that the era of #BritsSoWhite is long gone. The event didn’t only give well-deserved credit to black British talent but was also marked by headline-making political protest and moments of excellence.

Dave, who won best album for 2019’s Psychodrama, stole the show with a scathing performance that held a mirror up to the state of racism in the UK.

Elsewhere, Tyler, The Creator dragged Theresa May, Billie Eilish performed her “No Time To Die” Bond soundtrack hit, and Stormzy and Lizzo delivered emotion and big energy. To recognize all that — and more — here are the best performances from the 2020 BRIT Awards.

Dave called UK PM Boris Johnson a “real racist”

In an electrifying performance of his song “Black,” Dave added a surprising new verse, diving deep on matters of institutional racism and leveling allegations of racism at UK prime minister, Boris Johnson. “It is racist, whether or not it feels racist, the truth is our prime minister’s a real racist,” Dave rapped. “They say, ‘you should be grateful, we’re the least racist’/I say the least racist is still racist.”

During his moving performance, he went on to condemn the government’s continued failure to support victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze. He also moved into a criticism of the British press and its treatment of Meghan Markle, compared with that of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.  “If you don’t want to get it, then you’re never gonna get how the news treats Kate versus how they treated Meghan.” Watch Dave’s full performance above.

Stormzy brought huge energy

Stormzy made a triumphant return to the BRIT Awards with a medley performance of “Don’t Forget to Breathe,” “Do Better,” “Wiley Flow,” “Own It,” and “Rainfall,” accompanied on stage by a choir and a squad of high-energy dancers. The rapper opened the performance singing to a piano ballad, before shifting gears into pure grime.

He closed his lengthy performance in pouring rain, surrounded by hundreds of people of color euphorically jumping and celebrating with him. Later that night, Stormzy took home the award for Best Male Artist.

Tyler, The Creator dragged Theresa May

Tyler, The Creator won the award for Best International Male at the 2020 BRIT Awards. A remarkable feat considering that he only got out of his UK ban last year. Fittingly, the artist used the occasion to give a personal shoutout to the woman responsible for his ban, former Prime Minister, Theresa May.

“I want to give a special shout-out to someone who I hold dear to my heart, who made it that I couldn’t come to this country five years ago,” the rapper said after accepting his award. “I know she’s sitting at home pissed off. Thank you Theresa May.” Watch his iconic speech above.

Lizzo performed a huge megamix

Did someone say medley? Lizzo brought the energy with a lavish performance of her hits, “Cuz I Love You,” “Truth Hurts,” “Good As Hell,” and “Juice,” complete with twerking and audience singalongs. You can watch her powerful performance below.

The singer who was nominated for Best International Female Artist also had viewers screaming when she was caught creeping on Harry Styles. Check out the hilarious moment below.

Billie Eilish performed her ‘Bond’ hit

The night also served as the live debut for “No Time to Die,” Billie Eilish’s theme for the James Bond film of the same name. With her brother Finneas playing brooding piano, Billie hit all the high notes and delivered a riveting performance. You can watch it in full below.

Harry Styles’ brought the Gucci drip

Predictably, Harry Styles made headlines at the BRITs for — you guessed it — his outfits. The One Direction-alum’s name was soon trending on Twitter, not just because of his live performance, but his brazen suiting. In perhaps his most remarkable look of the night, Styles took the stage to perform his song “Falling” in a custom Gucci lace jumpsuit with billowing sleeves and suspenders, complete with lace gloves.

Celeste is officially one to watch

It was perhaps the night’s most beautiful moment when singer Celeste delivered a truly devastating rendition of her ballad “Strange.” The performance which has the songstress’ name on everyone’s lips, reminded us that she rightly won the night’s Best Rising Star award. Watch her beautiful performance below.

 

Words by Sarah Osei
Staff Writer