There was a time when the MOBO’s used to be marked on the TV calendar as a must watch in B.A.M.E. (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) family homes. Back when the best of American black music jumped across the pond and put on fantastic shows. But since then, there has been wavering support from young people for the award show. The feeling of misrepresentation and not identifying with the acts that were the recipients of the accolades caused a stir in the black community. No longer are we looking overseas for our music fix. The UK are producing some amazing albums and songs that have been supported by fans from festivals to underground clubs.
With all this undeniable music it seems the MOBO’s have been paying attention and this years result reflects a list of nominees for the MOBO Awards 2016 from the streets to the mainstream. It’s refreshing to see mainly UK acts being prioritised in most categories, which also include leading nominations for the recent Mercury Award shortlisted artists Skepta, Kano and Laura Mvula. In fact, you’ll need to look at the Best International Act to find a US artist which hasn’t been the case for a few years.
The British music scene is flying high. With artists such as Kojey Radical, Nao and Shakka making great projects as well as AJ Tracey, J Hus and Abra Cadabra creating bangers that are heating up the roads, it’s great to see the varied amount of different artists that are being represented by the biggest award show for black music in the UK. Opening up the Voting Academy this year seems to have had the right impact.
It wasn’t always like this. Frustration in the urban music world resulted in GRM Daily and Disrupt working together with KA Drinks to create the Rated Awards. This was reminiscent of when MOBO first started. Being a platform where musicians are celebrated and presented with an award that symbolises the appreciation that the industry and the supporters have for their hard work. With the Rated Awards second ceremony still being talked about, the pressure was on the MOBO’s to look deeper and take note of the work that is being put in at a grassroots level.
This year, the MOBO’s will be back in Glasgow for their 21st award show. In 2014, the MOBOs was brought back to London with the introduction of the Grime award. We celebrated the culture being recognised on the big stage but the rest of the main award winners caused an uproar in the black music community and on social media. Fast forward to the present and Grime artists are in the running for many of the big awards such as Best Album and Best Male Act. The Best Newcomer nominees are a great reflection of where music of black origin is currently at in the UK. Nominees from Avelino to Ray Blk are on the bill and the 2016 MOBO Awards are on their way to being championed by the supporters of black music nationwide.
The MOBO Awards will be aired on ITV2 on the 4th November 2016
Till then you can take part and get voting for your favourites from the full list of nominations here.