Headie One makes powerful political statement with Brits 2021 performance

Headie One tackled social injustice issues at the Brits 2021 (Picture: Getty Images)

Headie One and AJ Tracey teamed up to make a powerful political statement with their Brit Awards 2021 performance. 

The rappers took to the stage at London’s O2 Arena to perform Headie’s hit single Ain’t It Different, although Stormzy who features on the track didn’t make an appearance. 

Instead, Headie replaced his verse to take aim at the Government over the free school meals controversy, while also highlighting coronavirus pandemic key workers and drill music’s disenfranchised roots. 

One new lyric included: ‘Team work keeps the dream working. It’s only right we show love to the key workers.’ 

Referring to footballer Marcus Rashford’s successful and tireless campaign to feed disadvantaged school children, another line stated: ‘The government is saying eat out to help out but won’t help out Rashford when he’s feeding the youths.’ 

Headie also addressed his previous jail stints and said: ‘What else can a drill youth rap about part from my worst days? You see me on stage but I was in jail for three of my birthdays.’ 

Tackling systemic racism in the UK, they also rapped: ‘Two Black Brits stand here at the Brits but still we ain’t seen as British.’ 

Headie and AJ performed in a set designed by Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh and wore clothes from the brand. 

Headie One and AJ Tracey performing at Brit Awards 2021

AJ Tracey and Headie performed in a box designed by Virgil Abloh (Picture: Getty Images)
Headie was joined by Young T & Bugsey (Picture: Getty Images)

Virgil said of the collaboration: ‘Supporting next generation’s talent is a part of my ethos. Watching Headie One build his career in music while being a voice of evolution makes his art practice important in contemporary art.’ 

It was a particularly iconic moment for drill music which is often portrayed negatively and blamed for fuelling violence in major cities across the country, particularly London. 

Headie was nominated for British male but was beaten by rapper J Hus, who wasn’t able to accept his award in person. 

The Brit Awards 2021, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, is available to watch on ITV Hub.

Brit Awards 2021 winners and nominees

British male 

Winner: J Hus

  • AJ Tracey
  • Headie One
  • Joel Corry
  • Youngblud

British female

Winner: Dua Lipa

  • Arlo Parks
  • Celeste
  • Jessie Ware
  • Lianne La Havas

British group

Winner: Little Mix

  • Bicep
  • Biffy Clyro
  • The 1975
  • Young T & Bugsey


Winner: Arlo Parks

  • Bicep
  • Celeste
  • Joel Corry
  • Young T & Bugsey

British album with Mastercard

Winner: Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

  • Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
  • Celeste – Not Your Muse
  • J Hus – Big Conspiracy
  • Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?

International female

Winner: Billie Eilish

  • Ariana Grande
  • Cardi B
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Taylor Swift

International male

Winner: The Weeknd

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Burna Boy
  • Childish Gambino
  • Tame Impala

International group

Winner: Haim

  • BTS
  • Fontaines D.C.
  • Foo Fighters
  • Run The Jewels

British single with Mastercard

Winner: Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles

  • Rain – AJ Tracey and Aitch ft Tay Keith.
  • Don’t Need Love – 220 Kid and Gracey
  • Physical – Dua Lipa
  • Head & Heart – Joel Corry ft. MNEK
  • Ain’t It Different – Headie One ft AJ Tracey and Stormzy
  • Lighter – Nathan Dawe ft KSI
  • Secrets – Regard and Raye
  • Rover – S1mba feat DTG
  • Don’t Rush – Young T & Bugsey ft Headie One

Global icon

Winner: Taylor Swift

Rising star

Winner: Griff

MORE : Brit Awards 2021: Jack Whitehall’s best moments, from Piers Morgan shade to Little Mix baby jokes

MORE : Brits 2021 viewers buzzing as former First Lady Michelle Obama presents award to The Weeknd

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