This year’s MOBO awards were held at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, which is refreshing to see when so many award ceremonies take place in London. A celebration of all things urban music in Britain and internationally, the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) awards have been a big deal since its inception in 1996. Attendees of the inaugural award ceremony were some of the biggest names in the music business with the likes of Lionel Richie, Tupac and Seal. Anyone who is anyone has performed at the awards.
There was a wide array of categories at this year’s awards which included best jazz act, best gospel act, best African act, best grime act, best reggae act, best RNB/soul act along with your typical best album/best male and female act and so on. The big double winner of the night was Stormzy who, for the second year running, won best grime act while also taking home the best male artist title. Grime has witnessed a resurgence in recent years and artists representing the genre were ever present at this year’s ceremony, with Krept and Konan winning both the best hip-hop act and best album category.
The recipient of this year’s MOBO outstanding achievement award was the diminutive Atlanta born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, better known as Cee Lo Green or one half of the duo Gnarls Barkley. At the age of 41 Green has already had an extensive career within the music business having been a member of the hip-hop group Goodie Mob in the early nineties. However, it wasn’t until forming Gnarls Barkley with producer Danger Mouse that he became a household name. The debut album from the duet, St.Elsewhere, was fun-loving and upbeat smash hit which included the international bestselling song ‘Crazy’. Since then Green has gone on to solo work and had further success with hit songs such as ‘Forget You’. Green joins illustrious company with previous winners of the award being the likes of P.Diddy and Billy Ocean.
The host for this year’s festivities was BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford. Rita Ora stole the show as usual with her performance of ‘Body On Me + Poison’ as well as several flamboyant outfit changes. The ceremony brought stars from all walks of life together including Leeds born Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain. The coverage was all shown on live on ITV2 and Cee Lo Green brought the ceremony to a close playing the crowd out with a trio of hits.