25-year-old Berwyn Dubois, who was born in Trinidad and has been living in the UK since the age of nine, does not yet hold a British passport, and would have been ineligible for the award without Rina’s intervention.
The east London rapper has become the first person to be nominated for the coveted prize for a mixtape alone. “Here’s to many, many more … Mercury nominated bitch,” he posted on Instagram.
Following the release of the Japanese-British pop star’s debut album Sawayama, the musician revealed that she was ineligible for a Mercury nomination, as well as domestic categories at the Brit Awards, due to nationality clauses – despite having lived in the UK for 25 years at the time.
Following a social media campaign with the hashtag #SAWAYAMAISBRITISH that ignited a conversation about Britishness online, Rina met with the BPI (who looks after the Brit and Mercury awards), and the rules were changed.
“I’m over the moon to share the news that, following a number of conversations, the BPI has decided to change the rules,” Rina wrote of her victory. “Starting this year, artists (like me) will be eligible for nomination even without British citizenship.”
Artists will now have to meet one of the three following criteria to be eligible: they were born in the UK, they are a UK passport holder (this includes those that hold more than one passport), or they have been permanently resident in the UK for more than five years.