Dua Lipa had a big night at the 2021 BRIT Awards: The pop star not only won two major awards, but she also managed to upset the U.K. government with her political acceptance speech.
After winning the award for Best British Female Solo Artist, per the BBC, Dua Lipa confronted prime minister Boris Johnson for failing to compensate key workers during the COVID-19. She chose to dedicate her award to Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, explaining that Anionwu had spent her “stellar nursing career fighting racial injustice” and “protecting frontline workers.”
“She has also said that there’s a massive disparity between gratitude and respect for frontline workers,” the “Don’t Start Now” singer continued. “Because it’s very good to clap for them, but we need to pay them.” Dua Lipa then suggested that everyone at the event “should all give a massive, massive round of applause and give Boris a message that we all support a fair pay rise for our frontline.”
The musician, who also took home the Best Album award for “Future Nostalgia,” reportedly received a standing ovation from the key workers that made up the 4,000-person audience. Her comments didn’t go unnoticed by British politicians either.
Dua Lipa brought attention to the tiny pay raise that nurses will receive
In response to Dua Lipa’s bold speech, environment secretary George Eustice defended the government’s actions on the BBC. “There’s been a pay freeze for most of the public sector and it’s also important to recognize that in recent years that there have been some pay rises as well, particularly for nurses and the lower-paid,” he argued, insisting that the public finance environment was currently “difficult” to manage.
“We can’t always go as far as you’d like, but it’s also the case that there’s a pay review that’s going on into the NHS,” Eustice added. It was announced in March that NHS staff in England would have their pay increased by only 1% this year, a decision that’s caused severe backlash amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nurse mentioned by Dua Lipa, Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, responded as well. Per Sky News, Anionwu is an emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London, who first started working for the NHS at age 16 and who was honored by the queen for her pioneering work around sickle cell disease. “I’m in shock!!” Dame Elizabeth wrote on Twitter, congratulating the singer on both her awards. “Thank you so much @DUALIPA for your nomination and your support for better pay for frontline #NHS staff.”
Dua Lipa’s fans also showered her with praise for her outfits, performance, and her support of frontline health workers.
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