Dua Lipa: Brit Awards 2021 winner calls for NHS pay rise – and praises ‘wave of women’ including Arlo Parks

Dua Lipa, Little Mix and Billie Eilish were among the early winners at a female-dominated 2021 Brits

Dua Lipa used her acceptance speech at the Brit Awards to call for a pay rise for NHS workers.

The singer picked up the female solo artist award and announced she would be sharing her trophy with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, the emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London.

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She said Dame Elizabeth has said there is a “massive disparity between gratitude and respect for frontline workers”.

Dua Lipa picked up the female solo artist award (Photo: Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images)

Lipa added: “It’s very good to clap for them, but we need to pay them.

“I think what we should do is we should all give a massive, massive round of applause and give Boris (Johnson) a message that we all support a fair pay rise for our front line.”

Her speech was met with rapturous applause from the crowd, which contained 2,500 people working on the front line of the pandemic in the Greater London area.

Award recipients have been given a “double trophy” which comes in two parts, and have been encouraged to give one part of their trophy to someone else.

Earlier in the night, Lipa performed a medley of songs at the Brit Awards.

Her performance began with a clip of her boarding a Tube train to travel to the O2 Arena before she appeared on stage. The singer wore a Union Jack miniskirt as she sang.

A ‘wave of women in music’

Lipa also celebrated the progress made with female representation at the awards; the singer and songwriter, Little Mix and Billie Eilish were among the early winners at a female-dominated Brit Awards.

“Last time I was up here accepting this award in 2018 I said that I wanted to see more women on these stages,” she said. “And I feel so proud that three years later, we are seeing that happen and it really is such an honour to be part of this wave of women in music.”

Billie Eilish saw off competition from artists including Cardi B and Taylor Swift to win the international female solo artist gong, while Arlo Parks said it was her “dream to true” to be named breakthrough artist.

Little Mix made history as the first female group to win the best British group prize.

The group – Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards – thanked former band mate Jesy Nelson and girl groups including Spice Girls who paved the way.

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How the night began

The star-studded evening began as host Jack Whitehall kicked off the Brit Awards ceremony at London’s O2 Arena with a sketch featuring Line Of Duty stars Vicky McClure and Martin Compston.

Social media sensation Jackie Weaver, who went viral with her contributions to a parish council meeting, also featured in the sketch.

Comedian Whitehall failed to impress the group with his impression of Ted Hastings and his “Mother of God!” catchphrase.

Coldplay, fronted by Chris Martin, then delivered a performance of their new single Higher Power from a pontoon on the River Thames, surrounded by hologram dancers and against a backdrop of purple and orange fireworks.

There is an audience of 4,000 people at this year’s event as part of the Government’s live events pilot scheme, with 2,500 tickets gifted to key workers from the Greater London area.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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