Fresh off the heels of her re-released Fearless album, Taylor Swift struts into the spotlight once again, this time with a historic win at the 2021 BRIT Awards. During the ceremony at London’s O2 Arena on Wednesday, Swift bagged the Global Icon Award, making her the first female, first non-British, and the youngest ever artist to do so.
Accepting the award from Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, the “Willow” singer offered a speech that spoke to anyone who has been beaten down while chasing their dreams. “There is no career path that comes free of negativity,” Swift said. “If you’re met with resistance, that probably means that you’re doing something new. If you’re experiencing turbulence or pressure, that probably means you’re rising.”
Citing how she was able to release three albums despite the pandemic, Swift also implored her fans to turn hate into motivation: “There might be times when you put your whole heart and soul into something, and you’re met with cynicism or skepticism, but you can’t let that crush you. You have to let that fuel you. We live in a world where anyone can say anything that they want about you at any time. But just please remember that you have the right to prove them wrong.”
To close her passionate speech, Swift, whom the award-giving body also recognized as the first female artist to clinch three #1 albums in a year in the UK, gave a flying kiss to her British fans in attendance.
The Global Icon Award, originally called the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, is described as the BRIT Awards’ “highest accolade” which honors an artist who has made an “immense worldwide impact” through music and advocacy.
It was back in November 2020 when Swift finally reclaimed the rights to her own music from her previous label. Since then, the “Miss Americana” star has set into motion her plan to re-record her first five albums, starting with last April’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
During the awards show, Swift’s reel reminded the world about her “ability to stand up for what she believes in, making her an inspiration around the world.”
Also taking place that night, another female-fronted group made history: Little Mix, who became the first girl group ever to win the British Group Award.
In their acceptance speech, the “Black Magic” singers called out how “white male dominance” has kept women like them from winning such awards despite the massive success of several girl groups in British music history.
“The fact that a girl band never has won this award really does speak volumes,” Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix said on the mic. “So this award isn’t just for us. It’s for the Spice Girls, Sugababes, All Saints, Girls Aloud — all of the incredible incredible female bands, this one’s for you.”
“It’s not easy being a female in the U.K. pop industry. We’ve seen the white male dominance, misogyny, sexism, and lack of diversity. We’re proud of how we’ve stuck together, stood for our group, surrounded ourselves with strong women, and are now using our voices more than ever.”
Fil-Am artist Olivia Rodrigo also made an appearance at the British awards show, giving a touching performance of her hit ballad, “Driver’s License.”
First held in 1977, the annual BRIT Awards has been deemed the highest-profile music awards in the UK which acts under the auspices of the British record industry’s trade association, the British Phonographic Industry.