What Happens At The Mobos Doesn't Stay at The Mobos
Friday, September 21, 2007
By Josephine Peart
Everyone always has something to say about the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards. Well, from where I was sitting I would say that it has come a long way since last year when the whole PR campaign was based around whether Beyonce and Jay Z would turn up and when they didn't, the media damned the MOBOs as a flop.
Shaggy opened this year's Awards night at London's O2 Arena with a medley of his hits. Co-hosting with Jamelia, Shaggy shared with the audience how the organisers almost forgot to get his work visa.
There were some amazing performances from Amy Winehouse, Kano and Craig David. T- Pain brought the house down and Neyo slowed it down for the closing act.
Overall the event was good. and the winners of this year's awards where more evenly split between US and UK acts. Although at times the event felt as though it is put together with only the TV audience in mind. This had a lot to do with the venue being so huge and there being no TV screens to provide a better view for those not directly close to the stage. Because of this at times, the atmosphere was stilted and the chatting between each act was disruptive.
Soul singer Amy Winehouse was named female artist of the year. This is what the mainstream press ran with today and provided the MOBOs with more news coverage than there would usually get.
Winehouse sang Tears Dry On Their Own plus Me And Mr Jones, looked surprised when her name was announced as winner of top female artist.
Chewing gum, she said "thank you" twice before handing back the microphone and leaving the stage.
Rapper Dizzee Rascal was named best male act, while Kanye West and Ne-Yo each won two awards.
West's video Stronger received the honour of best video of the past 12 months, and he was also best hip-hop act (possibly the reason why 50 Cent pulled out of his performance).
Ne-Yo was best R&B act, while his hit Because of You was top song.The female singing sensation, Rihanna, who was not at the show due to touring in Canada, was best international artist, and the DJ of the year award went to BBC Radio 1's Tim Westwood who collect his award to a chorus of boo's.
Were the boo's because people felt he has been holding the baton of best DJ for far too long? Maybe it is time for the MOBOs to introduce a new DJ category such as most influential DJ over the last 12 months or best new DJ?
There is a question which is asked every year by the mainstream media and that question is 'How necessary are the MOBOs in this age we live in?' In simple terms the MOBOs are still very necessary as a platform and a way to honour and recognise music of black origin.
However, the awards were created around the idea that Black music was not being fairly represented in the traditional music awards such as the Brits. What the organisers have to be careful about is not to marginalise up-and-coming British artists for the popular US acts who have more than enough support from the other side of the pond in America.
For the awards to be relevant to future generations, the MOBOs have to return back to their roots and remember why we were all begging for an awards ceremony like this, 12 years ago.
You only have to look at the number of ethnic minorities in the UK who are excluded from senior positions in the music industry to know that the MOBOs are not only relevant but absolutely necessary today.
Live from the MOBOs and the backstage party.
Josephine Peart writes about the arts for The New Black Magazine.
Please e-mail comments to email@example.com