If Queen started now, we’d have to have people of different colours and sexes, and a trans person, says Brian May
24th November 2021

THEY were the legendary British group who rocked stadiums all over the world and sang about Fat Bottomed Girls.

But Queen guitarist Brian May believes his mega-selling group would have to be very different if they had formed today.


Queen legend Brian May has slammed Brit Awards bosses for making their categories gender neutral.

In a scathing interview, the guitarist branded the decision “ill-thought-out” and claimed it was a “knee-jerk reaction” to “woke cancel culture”.

The Brit Awards, which started in 1977, confirmed this week it would axe gendered categories to be “more inclusive”.

But Brian, 74, who has won four of the music industry gongs with his band, said the organisation is making a mistake.

Speaking on the 30th anniverary of Queen’s singer Freddie Mercury dying from Aids, Brian said: “I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear.

“Because people are so afraid of being called out. It is a horrible atmosphere.

“I get so sick of people trying to change things without thinking of the long-term consequences.

“Some of these things are improvements and some are not. Some of them are depriving people.

“I would like to see a lot more care taken to make sure we don’t just jump on people and accuse them of this and that.”

Piers Morgan was one of the many other critics who blasted the Brits’ announcement on Monday, branding it “a load of woke garbage.”

And Malcolm Clark, from the LGB Alliance charity which advocates for gay people, said: “There does not appear to have been a consultation about whether the public, LGB or straight, want this.”

The Brits said in a statement on Monday that abolishing female and male categories would make the show “as inclusive and as relevant as possible.”

The move comes after Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary, was excluded from the gendered categories during this year’s ceremony.

But some lists of nominees from recent years appear to show a male bias — and there are now fears that more women will miss out as a result of the changes.

Adele and Ed Sheeran will go up against one another for the new Artist of the Year gong, when previously it is likely they both would have won in the gendered categories.

Last year British singer Mabel and US star Normani were the only women nominated for Song Of The Year alongside nine male artists.

And in 2020 the Album and Group Of The Year categories had all-male nominees.

Speaking about whether he believed female performers would miss out again thanks to the gender-neutral move, Brian said: “I honestly don’t know if it disadvantages one group but it’s a decision that has been made without a lot of thought.

Our generation made a lot of bad mistakes but not everybody in our generation was wrong and not everybody in this generation is right

“I don’t know what the long-term consequences are.

“A lot of things work quite well and can be left alone. I think some things need to go back.

“What matters is justice and equality of opportunity, no matter who you are, and that is actually not happening at the moment as everyone is jumping to conclusions and everyone is scared of doing the wrong thing. I do find it very uncomfortable.

“I don’t think things are going very well, I have to say.”

When asked what he wanted to see in the future, Brian added: “I want to see people start to understand each other in the new year and recognise the differences there are between us.

“Between our colour, between our sex and between our talents and celebrate the differences.”

Queen, who sold have sold more than 90 million albums, will forever be associated with flamboyant frontman Freddie, who was born in Zanzibar to Parsi-Indian parents.

Freddie was openly gay at a time when many stars kept their true sexuality secret.

He and the band dressed as women in the video for their ’80s hit I Want To Break Free — and when they formed in the ’70s, the group favoured the adrogynous look popularised by rock acts of the time.

But incredibly, Brian reckons Queen would not be considered diverse enough if they were a new band performing in this day and age.

Speaking at the telly industry bash ITV Palooza in London, Brian said: “I am sure if Queen started now we would be forced to have people of different colours and different sexes and a trans [person], but life doesn’t have to be like that. We can be separate and different.

“Our generation made a lot of bad mistakes but not everybody in our generation was wrong and not everybody in this generation is right.

“A lot of people from our generation who are being called out for this have actually done a lot of good in their lives.

“The young people who are doing this will find that the same thing happens to them — people will be calling them out and they will be bewildered. I just pray for more understanding between us.”

Brian also weighed in on the debate surrounding cancel culture and said he believed people were “living in fear”.

There is an atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think

He added: “I worry about cancel culture. I think some of it is good but it also brings bad things and injustices.

“We think in different ways but they weren’t necessarily worse ways.

“For instance, Freddie wasn’t white but nobody cared. He was a musician. He was our friend, our brother.

“We didn’t have to stop and think, ‘Oh should we work with him? Is he the right colour or the right sex?’

“It is frightening that people have to be so calculated about things. To me it is dangerous.

“There is an atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think.

“I think there is a pressure building up as so many people are feeling, ‘Hang on. This isn’t quite right,’ but they don’t dare say anything.

“I think eventually there will be some kind of explosion.

“Social media makes it worse. It can be good but it can be very dangerous. It’s sad.

“It’s easy to be a bully if you are in the comfort of your own home behind a screen. Keyboard warriors and all that stuff.”

Throughout his career with Queen, Brian and the group have been nominated for ten Brit Awards.

Their most recent nomination was in 2005, when their 1977 hit We Are The Champions was nominated for British Song of the Year.

He now performs in the band with fellow original member Roger Taylor, 72, on drums and American Idol’s Adam Lambert, 39, on vocals.





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