The MOBO Awards (Music of Black Origin, also known as the MOBOs) are an annual music award presentation honouring achievements in "music of black origin", including hip hop, grime, R&B, soul, reggae, jazz, gospel, and African music.
|The MOBO Awards|
|Awarded for||Excellence in music of black origin|
|Presented by||MOBO Organisation|
The MOBO Organisation was founded by Kanya King, and the first MOBO award was presented to Baby D, in the Best Dance Act category. The inaugural awards were broadcast by Carlton from London's Connaught Rooms. Across its 22-year history, the MOBOs have been broadcast on Channel 4, BBC Television, ITV2 and on Channel 5 before returning to the BBC in 2020. In 2009, the ceremony was held for the first time in Glasgow. Prior to that, it had been held in London. In 2011, the ceremony returned for a second time to Scotland. The awards then moved to Leeds for the first time in 2015.
The show returned to Leeds in 2017 when it was last held before going on hiatus. In 2020 it was confirmed it would be returning that year, however for the first time ever it would be streamed on YouTube.
The ceremony was first broadcast regionally on Carlton Television from 1996 to 1997, before airing nationwide on Channel 4 from 1998 until 2003. From 2004 to 2014, they were aired by the BBC; beginning in 2006, the show aired live on BBC Three, and highlights aired on BBC One.
In 2018, the MOBO Organisation announced that the ceremony would take a one-year hiatus in order to plan a "bigger, revamped show" in 2019. However, the show did not materialise, with organisers now planning to hold the ceremony in 2020 instead; Kanya King stated that there would be "positive changes" to the show, and that they would be "returning with even more determination and energy to support and boost our culture wherever we can."
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, Lisa Maffia, Dizzee Rascal, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Amy Winehouse, Coolio, Usher, John Legend, Jason Derulo, and Jessie J.
- Best Album: Goldie - Timeless
- Best Single: Gabrielle - "Give Me a Little More Time"
- Best Newcomer: Peace by Piece
- Best Video: Tupac Shakur featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman - "California Love"
- Best Hip-Hop Act: Blak Twang
- Best R&B Act: Mark Morrison
- Best Reggae Act: Peter Hunnigale
- Best Gospel Act: New Colours
- Best Jazz Act: Courtney Pine
- Best Dance Act: Baby D
- Best Jungle Act: Goldie
- Best DJ: Trevor Nelson
- Best International Act: Fugees
- Best International Single: Fugees - "Killing Me Softly"
- Outstanding Contribution to Black Music: Jazzie B
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Lionel Richie
- Best Dance Act: The Prodigy
- Best R&B Act: Shola Ama
- Best Hip Hop: Funky DL
- Best International Hip Hop: Coolio
- Best Reggae Act: Finley Quaye
- Best Jungle Act: Roni Size and Reprazent
- Best Single: Eternal
- Best Video: Will Smith
- Best International Act: Blackstreet
- Best Album: Jamiroquai
- Best Newcomer: Shola Ama
- Best Unsigned Act: Fola Sade
- Best International Reggae Act: Beenie Man
- Best Producer: Sean Puffy Combs
- Best Radio DJ: David Rodigan
- Best Club DJ: Metalheadz
- Best Jazz Act: Sunship
- Best Gospel Act: Beehive
- Best International Single: Rosie Gaines "Closer Than Close"
- Outstanding Achievement: Mick Hucknall
- Lifetime Achievement: Bootsy Collins
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.
- Best Dance Act: Stardust
- Best Reggae Act: Glamma Kid
- Best Drum and Bass: 4 Hero
- Best Hip Hop Act: Pheobe 1
- Best Unsigned Act: Alison Brown
- Best Newcomer: Lynden David Hall
- Best R&B Act: Beverley Knight
- Best International Reggae: Beenie Man
- Contribution to Music: Carl McIntosh
- Best Video: All Saints
- Best International Act: Puff Daddy and the Family
- Best International Single: Pras feat ODB / Mýa
- Best Single: Another Level
- Best Album: Adam F
- Outstanding Achievement: Sean Combs
- Lifetime Achievement: BB King
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, Method Man & Redman, Tim Westwood, Lionel Richie, Lulu, Victoria Beckham, Chris Eubank, Another Level, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Destiny's Child, and girl band Eternal.
- Best International R&B Act: Destiny's Child
- Best Newcomer: Kele Le Roc
- Best International Act: Lauryn Hill
- Best Hip Hop Act: Roots Manuva
- Best International Hip Hop Act: Jay Z
- Best Dance Act: Shanks & Bigfoot
- Best Video: TLC - "No Scrubs"
- Best Album: Beverley Knight - Prodigal Sista
- Best DJ: Trevor Nelson
- Best Single: Kele Le Roc
- Best Unsigned Act: Amoyé
- Best International Single: Eminem - "My Name Is"
- Best Reggae Act: Mr Vegas
- Contribution to Music: Erskine Thompson
- Best R&B Act: Beverley Knight
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Tina Turner
The MOBO Awards 2000 ceremony took place at Alexandra Palace, hosted by Trevor Nelson and Lisa Left Eye Lopes and sponsored by Mastercard. There show opened with a performance of Money by Jamelia featuring Beenie Man. Craig David performed an acoustic medley of Fill Me In, 7 Days and Nice & Slow by Usher, Sade exclusively performed By Your Side, Gabrielle performed Rise, MJ Cole performed Crazy Love featuring Elizabeth Troy, Donell Jones performed U Know What's Up featuring ceremony host, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes. The show closed with a performance of Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men.
In addition to their performances, Craig David, Jamelia, Beenie Man, MJ Cole and Gabrielle also won awards. With Craig David receiving three awards in total.
- Best Newcomer: Craig David
- Best Video: Jamelia - Money
- Best Hip Hop Act: Eminem
- Best Reggae Act: Beenie Man
- Best Gospel Act: Mary Mary
- Best Jazz Act: Ronny Jordan
- Best World Music Act: Carlos Santana
- Best UK Garage Act: DJ Luck & MC Neat
- Best Producer: MJ Cole
- Best UK Radio DJ: Tim Westwood
- Best UK Club: Steve Sutherland
- MOBO Unsigned Award: Cherise
- Outstanding Contribution to Music: Aswad
- Outstanding Achievement: L.A. Reid
- Best UK Single: "Fill Me In" by Craig David
- Best UK Album: Rise by Gabrielle
- Best R&B Act: Ashanti
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. Janet Jackson received the icon award. 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.
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.
- Best Newcomer: Tinie Tempah
- Best UK Hip-Hop/Grime Act: Professor Green
- Best African Act: K'Naan
- Best Video: Tinie Tempah ft. Labrinth – Frisky
- Best Reggae Act: Gyptian
- Best Jazz Act: Empirical
- Best Gospel Act: Guvna B
- Best UK R&B/Soul Act: Plan B
- Best International Act: Eminem
- Best UK Act: JLS
- Best Song: N-Dubz ft Mr Hudson - Playing With Fire
- Best Album: JLS
- Lifetime Achievement: Billy Ocean
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.
- Best Gospel: Triple O
- Best Jazz: Kairos Quartet
- Best Reggae: Alborosie
- Best African Act: Wizkid
- Best Song: Jessie J
- Best R&B/Soul: Adele
- Best Album: Jessie J
- Best Hip Hop/Grime: Tinie Tempah
- Best Video: Tinchy Stryder ft. Dappy
- Best Newcomer: Jessie J
- Best International: Rihanna
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, Angel 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 ft. Tinie Tempah, "Earthquake"
- 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.
- Best Male Act: Wiley
- Best Female Act: Laura Mvula
- Best Song: Naughty Boy, "La La La"
- Best Album: Rudimental, Home
- Best Newcomer: Krept and Konan, ft. "Dizzy" Daniel Moorehead
- Best R&B/Soul: Laura Mvula
- Best UK Hip Hop/Grime: Tinie Tempah
- Best Video: Naughty Boy, "La La La"
- Best Gospel: Lurine Cato
- Best Jazz: Sons of Kemet
- Best Reggae: Sean Paul
- Best African Act: Fuse ODG
- Best International: Kendrick Lamar
- 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
- Best African Act: Fuse ODG
- Best Album: Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
- Best Female Act: Jessie J
- Best Gospel Act: Living Faith Connection Choir
- Best Grime Act: Stormzy
- Best Hip Hop Act: Krept and Konan
- Best International Artist: Beyoncé
- Best Jazz Act: Zara McFarlane
- Best Male Act: Sam Smith
- Best Newcomer: Ella Eyre
- Best R&B/Soul Act: Sam Smith
- Best Reggae Act: Stylo G
- Best Song: Sam Smith, "Stay with Me"
- Best Video: Skepta ft. JME, "That's Not Me"
- 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 - Figure 8 + In Time
- Fuse ODG - Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) + Dangerous Love
- Shakka - Say Nada
- CeeLo Green - Music to My Soul, Crazy + Forget You
- Best Hip Hop Act: Krept and Konan
- Best Gospel Act: Faith Child
- Best Grime Act: Stormzy
- Best African Act: Fuse ODG
- Best Newcomer: Section Boyz
- Best Male Act: Stormzy
- Best Song: Skepta, "Shutdown"
- Best Female Act: Ella Eyre
- Paving the Way Award: Lenny Henry
- Best R&B/Soul Act: Shakka
- Best Jazz Act: Binker and Moses
- Best Reggae Act: Popcaan
- Best Video: FKA Twigs - "Pendulum"
- Best Album: Krept and Konan, The Long Way Home
- Best International Album: Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late
- Outstanding Achievement: CeeLo Green
Tinie Tempah was due to perform, but pulled out hours before the show. He was replaced by Professor Green.
An error saw the wrong act given the award for Best Song. "Of the many worthy winners of best song, we deeply regret a mistake was made," said Mobo organisers, in a statement blaming a "production error."
- Laura Mvula - Ready Or Not (Here I Come)
- Lady Leshurr - Queen's Speech + Where Are You Now?
- Craig David - Rewind + Fill Me In + 16 + When The Bassline Drops + Nothing Like This
- Chase & Status ft Tom Grennan & Frisco - All Goes Wrong + Funny
- WSTRN - In2
- Clean Bandit ft Anne-Marie - Rockabye
- Izzy Bizu - Mad Behaviour
- Professor Green - One Eye On The Door
- Popcaan ft Sneakbo - Only Man She Wants + Too Cool
- Fekky ft Section Boyz - Madting, Sadting
- Best Male Act – Craig David
- Best Female Act – Lady Leshurr
- Best Newcomer – WSTRN
- Best Album – Kano: Made In The Manor
- Best Hip Hop Act – Section Boyz
- Best Song – Abra Cadabra ft. Krept & Konan - Robbery (remix)
- Best Video – Nadia Rose - SKWOD
- Best R&B/Soul – Shakka
- Best Grime Act (In Association with BBC Radio 1Xtra) - Chip
- Best International Act - Drake
- Best Jazz Act - Esperanza Spalding
- Best Gospel Act - Guvna B
- Best Reggae Act - Popcaan
- Best African Act - Wizkid
- Paving The Way - Nicola Adams MBE and Ms. Dynamite
The MOBO Awards 2017 took place at Leeds First Direct Arena on 29 November. Stormzy won three awards while Stefflon Don's award made her the only female winner on the night.
- Best Male Act - Stormzy
- Best Female Act - Stefflon Don
- Best Album: Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
- Best Newcomer - Dave
- Best Song: J Hus – Did You See
- Best Video: Mist – Hot Property
- Best Hip-hop Act - Giggs
- Best Grime Act - Stormzy
- Best R&B/soul Act - Craig David
- Best International Act - Wizkid
- Best African Act - Davido
- Best Reggae Act - Damian Marley
- Best Jazz Act - Moses Boyd
- Best Gospel Act - Volney Morgan & New-Ye
- Paving The Way - Idris Elba
The MOBOs have faced criticism for having become increasingly oriented towards "commercial" urban music, and having given nominations and awards to musicians who are not black. In 2003, a boycott effort emerged after the American pop musicians Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera won the awards for Best R&B Act and Best Video respectively. The Independent described the wins as being the result of the "white appropriation of black music". A MOBO spokesperson defended their presence, stating that the awards were designed to honour achievements in music of black origin, regardless of the ethnicity of their performers, and cited the increasing worldwide growth of urban music at the time.
In 2006, DJ and music journalist Bigger wrote that the presentation had been "veering away from its concept of rewarding music of black origin" as early as its third edition, noting its increasing dominance by American acts at the expense of domestic acts. He argued that the show had become "little more than a pat on the back and a jolly boys' outing for major labels and American acts."
In 2011, Lanre Bakare wrote in The Guardian that the show was being affected by the music industry's dilution of the distinctive black music scene, promoting it to mainstream audiences as popular music (including "manufactured", U.S.-style hip-hop and R&B). In the column, it was noted that Labrinth had criticized the nominations of Conor Maynard and Ed Sheeran for awards, while Charlie Dark of Attica Blues argued that the MOBOs needed to promote innovation in black music, and "shouldn't be an annual event where everyone pats themselves on the back for very small advances that they've made, when they are powerful enough to bring real change. If they don't adapt, artists who aren't interested in commercial pop and being put in musical boxes will just do their own thing."
In 2020, English rock duo Nova Twins wrote an open letter on Twitter addressed to the MOBOs concerning the fact that there was no Rock/Alternative category, despite the fact that many POC have contributed to the evolution of rock music, and still are to this day, and hoping "that a Rock/Alternative category will be added to the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards in 2021, recognising the POC contributors to the genre.". The MOBOS later replied on Twitter that "the MOBO Awards Judging Panel have actually discussed this and [...] will continue to review potential category expansions for future Award ceremonies."
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