MOBO Awards

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The MOBO Awards
File:MOBO logo.png
Country United Kingdom
First awarded 1996
Official website
Television/Radio coverage

The MOBO Awards for "Music of Black Origin" were established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell. The MOBO Award show is held annually in the United Kingdom to recognise artists of any ethnicity or nationality performing black music. In 2009, the awards ceremony was held in Glasgow for the first time. Prior to that, it had been held in London. In 2011, the ceremony returned to Scotland for a second time. The awards then moved to Leeds for 2015.

The Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards were established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate artists who create Black or urban music. The MOBOs may be the most prestigious but were not the first Black music awards show in the country. In Britain, the Black Music Awards (BMA) show ran from 1992 to 1996 in various venues in London.[1][2] For non-music shows, the Afro Hair and Beauty show was set up by Dyke and Dryden beauty company in 1982,[3] and is still an annual event in London.

The first MOBO award was presented to UK trio Baby D, in the Best Dance Act category.[4] The MOBO Awards are seen as a UK equivalent to the BET Awards and Soul Train Awards for being the main award show in Britain to focus on Urban music.


The MOBO Awards show has previously taken place in the following venues:


The ceremony was broadcast on ITV (Carlton Television) from 1996 to 1997 before moving to Channel 4 from 1998 until 2003. Since 2004 the awards have been broadcast by the BBC, and in 2006 the show was aired live for the first time in its history on BBC Three, and repeated two days later on BBC One. Highlight shows were broadcast on BBC One in a late-night timeslot. In 2014, the awards show moved to ITV2 due to the BBC launching its own music awards, the BBC Music Awards.


In the course of its history, the MOBO Awards show has witnessed performances from UK and international talent. Over the years, artists have included Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child, Dionne Warwick, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Tina Turner, Rosie Gaines, Dizzee Rascal, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Amy Winehouse, Coolio, Usher, John Legend, Jason Derulo, and Jessie J .

In 2000, Sade came out of retirement to perform at the Awards, her first performance in almost a decade.


Kanya King launched the MOBO awards in 1996, aiming to establish a platform for music that, according to King, encompasses urban, hip hop, R&B and reggae. After failing to raise support for her plan, she raised funds by re-mortgaging her house.[5]


The 1997 award ceremony was held at London's Connaught Rooms on November 10. The gala included performances by Mary J. Blige and Eternal.


The MOBO Awards show was held at The Royal Albert Hall and hosted by Mel B and Bill Bellamy. It was broadcast nationally by Channel 4. Performers and presenters included footballer Sol Campbell, girl band All Saints, DJ Trevor Nelson, boxers Lennox Lewis and Chris Eubank, Puff Daddy, Chaka Khan, Goldie, Another Level, and Martine McCutcheon. Contribution to Black Music went to Carl McIntosh and B.B. King won the Lifetime Achievement Award.


The 1999 award ceremony was held at The Royal Albert Hall, sponsored by Malibu and hosted by Mel B and Wyclef Jean. International Hip-Hop Act Award went to Jay-Z, Best Album was awarded to Beverley Knight, International Act to Lauryn Hill and Lifetime Achievement Award to Tina Turner. Performers and presenters included Des'ree, Dru Hill, Tim Westwood, Lionel Richie, Lulu, Victoria Beckham, Chris Eubank, Another Level, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Destiny's Child, and girl band Eternal.


In 2003, the MOBO awards show moved to The Royal Albert Hall and was hosted by Blu Cantrell and Lil' Kim, with performances from DMX, Lumidee, Wayne Wonder, George Benson, Lemar, Seal, Mis-teeq and Redman, J'Nay John Adeleye, Big Brovaz, The Black Eyed Peas and Kool and the Gang. Among the winners of the night were: 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake, Big Brovaz and Lisa Maffia, who was the only UK female artist to win an award.


The ninth awards ceremony took place on 30 September 2004 at The Royal Albert Hall and was broadcast by BBC Television. So Solid Crew won the award in the UK garage Act category award beating Dizzee Rascal and The Streets. Controversy surrounded the removal of reggae artists Vybz Kartel and Elephant Man from the "Best Reggae Act" category at the 2004 awards due to their homophobia and incitement to murder.[6]


The 2005 awards show saw one of the biggest line-ups in MOBO award history, including John Legend, Ms Dynamite, Lemar, Kano, Damien Marley, Public Enemy and Lauryn Hill. The event was hosted by Gina Yashere and Akon at The Royal Albert Hall, with guest presenters Chris Eubank, Lisa Maffia, Josie Darby, Simon Webbe, Myleene Klass, Estelle, Tim Westwood, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Chuck D. Big winners on the night included Corrine Bailey-Rae, Lemar, The Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Sean Paul and Beyoncé.


In 2006 the awards ceremony was hosted by Coolio and Gina Yashere at The Royal Albert Hall. For the first time the World Music and Jazz categories were suspended. Corinne Bailey Rae won the prize for Best UK Newcomer. British rapper Akala won Best Hip Hop Act, beating stiff competition from American acts such as Kanye West, 50 Cent, and The Game.


The 2007 awards ceremony was broadcast live on BBC Three from the O2 Arena in London and hosted by Shaggy and Jamelia. The jazz category returned. Shaggy opened the evening with a medley. T-Pain performed on stage with Yung Joc, Craig David and Kano collaborated on stage; Ne-Yo, Mutya Buena and Robin Thicke also performed. Amy Winehouse performed two songs and accepted the award for Best UK Female. N-Dubz won Best Newcomer. England cricketer Monty Panesar and England footballer Micah Richards were among a line up of guests presenting individual awards which also included Sinitta and Quentin Tarantino.


The 2009 awards event took place on 30 September at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow, the first time the MOBO awards show took place outside London. A tribute performance was dedicated to Michael Jackson, and the Young Soul Rebels performed their charity single "I Got Soul". Reggie Yates and Keri Hilson hosted the awards show, with Peter Andre presenting backstage.


The awards ceremony took place on 20 October 2010 in Liverpool.[7]


The awards show returned to Glasgow's SECC on 5 October 2011, hosted by Jason Derülo and Alesha Dixon. Jessie J won four awards, making her the biggest winner of the night. Boyz II Men received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Other winners included Rihanna, Tinie Tempah, Adele and Alborosie. Amy Winehouse was given an award and a special tribute, following her death in July 2011.


The 17th Awards show took place on 3 November 2012 at the Liverpool Arena. Presented by Miquita Oliver and Adam Deacon - with backstage support from Rickie and Melvin - the night saw Trey Songz, Conor Maynard, Emeli Sandé, Misha B, JLS, Stooshe, Labrinth and Wiley perform.

Emeli Sandé won awards for Best Female, Best Album and Best R&B/Soul while Plan B took Best Male Act and Best Hip Hop/Grime. TLC were awarded Outstanding Contribution to Music, with Dionne Warwick receiving the MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award. The full list of winners where:

  • Best Gospel: Rachel Kerr
  • Best Jazz: Zoe Rahman
  • Best Reggae: Sean Paul
  • Best African Act: D'Banj
  • Best Song: Labrinth
  • Best R&B/Soul: Emeli Sandé
  • Best Album: Emeli Sandé
  • Best Hip Hop/Grime: Plan B
  • Best Video: JLS
  • Best Female Act: Emeli Sandé
  • Best Male Act: Plan B
  • Best Newcomer: Rita Ora
  • Best International: Nicki Minaj


The 18th Awards show took place on 19 October 2013 and was held at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. It was hosted by Trevor Nelson and Sarah-Jane Crawford. Performances included Tinie Tempah, Iggy Azalea, Naughty Boy, Rudimental and Jahméne Douglas.[8]

The winners were:


The 19th Awards show took place on 22 October 2014 and was held at The SSE Arena in London. It was hosted by Mel B and Sarah-Jane Crawford. It was broadcast live on ITV2 for the first time.


  • Professor Green feat Tori Kelly- Lullaby
  • Jessie J feat Kid Ink- Bang Bang + Burnin' Up
  • Krept & Konan & The All Stars- Don't Waste My Time
  • Fekky & Meridan Dan- Still Sittin Here + German Whip
  • Candi Staton & Little Simz- You've Got The Love
  • Jeremih feat Krept & Konan- Don't Tell 'Em
  • Ella Eyre- Comeback
  • Nicole Scherzinger- On The Rocks
  • Gorgon City Feat. MNEK & Jess Glynne - Ready For Your Love + Right Here

The winners were:


The 20th Awards show took place on 4 November 2015 and was held at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.[9] The show was broadcast live on ITV2 and hosted by Sarah-Jane Crawford.


  • Ella Eyre - Even If
  • Krept & Konan - Do It for the Gang, Certified + Freak of the Week
  • Lianne La Havas - Unstoppable
  • Naughty Boy - Running Lose It All
  • Rita Ora - Body on Me + Poison
  • Section Boyz - Trapping Ain't Dead
  • FKA twigs - In Time
  • Fuse ODG - Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) + Dangerous Love
  • Shakka - Say Nada
  • CeeLo Green - Music to My Soul, Crazy + Forget You

The winners were:



The Independent newspaper columnist David Lister criticizes the MOBO awards, writing: "I find any notion of separate awards devised for black musicians, and still largely for black musicians, depressing." He went on to say[10] that such awards "limit the music and the performers they claim to honour" and "manage to be both ludicrous and dangerously divisive at the same time." Others[11] reject this criticism, calling it "pedant," and noting that MOBO simply focuses on genres just as other awards focus on other genres.

Critic Niall Crowley made allegations that the term "black music" is inaccurate, claiming that there were significant Jewish influences on rhythm and blues and rock n roll. He states: "Without these and many other non-African Americans who played a defining role in the evolution of rhythm and blues, we wouldn't have much of the great 'black' music we've had over the past 50 years or so." Crowley also juxtaposes the attitudes of the MOBOs with the huge success of black performers in recent decades, writing that the awards reinforce "the idea that today's black performers are simply the latest generation of sufferers in a long history of victimhood." He argues that in reality "no one could possibly claim that recent generations of black performers have suffered at the hands of a racist music industry" and the MOBOs "encourage music fans to see discrimination and racism where there is none."[12]


DJ and music journalist "Bigger" criticises the awards for "veering away from its concept of rewarding music of black origin", suggesting this process started to occur during the second year of the awards though only became a major problem from the 2000 awards onwards. He cites winners such as Steve Jackson and Mick Hucknall as evidence that the awards were being "diluted", despite the huge influence Hucknall in particular has had on the modern British soul scene. He also criticises the increasing American domination of the event and commercialisation, arguing that by its fourth year MOBO stood for "music of big organisations".[13]

See also


  1. Kwaku (15 Jan 1994). U.K. Black Music Awards Gain Industry's Respect In 2nd Year. Billboard. p. 34. Retrieved May 17, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kwaku, Kwaku (10 December 1994). Wayne Marshall, Don Campbell Top Winners At U.K.'s BMAs. Billboard. p. 52. Retrieved 17 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Hair Events What to expect from the Afro Hair & Beauty Show 2012?". Retrieved 17 May 2013. External link in |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 1996 Mobo Awards.
  5. "Mobo Awards founder Kanya King: How I defied teacher who told me to work in a supermarket". The Daily Record And Sunday Mail.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Growing up Gay in Jamaica". BBC News. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "MOBO Lands In Liverpool!". MOBO. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Laura Mvula leads the MOBO Awards victors as she beats Rita Ora and Jessie J to take home Best Female AND wins Best R&B Act". Daily Mail. 19 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "MOBO Awards 2015 will take place in Leeds!". MOBO. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Lister, David (4 October 2008). "The Mobos are past their sell-by date". The Independent. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Horan, Tom (25 September 2003). "MUSIC: How Ms MOBO proved them wrong". Daily Telegraph. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Niall Crowley, "Message to MOBOs: ditch the victim act", spiked, 5 October 2011.
  13. "Are the Mobos good for black music?". BBC News. 20 September 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links