After a three-year hiatus, the MOBO Awards made a huge comeback on Wednesday night with a 90-minute virtual ceremony that recognised the hottest new talent from the UK and around the globe.
Hosted by broadcaster Maya Jama and YouTube creator, music artist and comedian Chunkz, the MOBO Awards reclaimed its crown as the UK’s biggest celebration of Black music. The ceremony, which was livestreamed on the MOBOs YouTube channel and also broadcast on BBC One, featured a number of special performances that encapsulated the strength and pride of Black voices that underpinned 2020. This is nothing less than what we have come to expect from the MOBOs.
Launching in 1996 by Kanya King to celebrate the incredible talent-making music of Black origin in the UK, the MOBO Awards quickly grew to become one of Europe’s biggest music award ceremonies with vast cultural influence.
The biggest artists across the globe have performed at the MOBOs, including the likes of Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Diddy, Jay Z, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Tina Turner, Sade, Lionel Richie, Usher and so many more.
Back home, the awards have played an instrumental role in the careers of numerous UK artists such as Stormzy, Craig David, Ms Dynamite, Krept and Konan, Chip and Kano – giving them their very first big platform at the start of their journey to global success.
Nearly 25 years later, a new cohort of artistes stepped up to make their mark and scoop a coveted MOBO award.
“I feel very proud about this year’s show which will go down in history because of its unique commentary and set of circumstances.”
London rapper Nines received a whopping five nominations this year and took home the prestigious Album of The Year for Crabs In A Bucket, seeing off steep competition from Stormzy, J Hus, Lianne La Havas and Mahalia.
The ‘King of Drill’ Headie One took home the coveted Best Male Act and Mahalia scooped up Best Female Act and Best R&B/Soul Act – her first major music awards win following a consistently noteworthy rise in recent years. The Leicestershire-born rising star released her debut album, Love and Compromise, in 2019 which includes ‘Shimmer’ (featuring Burna Boy) and ‘What You Did’ (featuring Ella Mai).
Nottingham duo Young T & Bugsey take home Song of The Year for their global viral hit ‘Don’t Rush’ (featuring Headie One), a contender for the anthem of 2020.
Nigerian music stars made a strong showing with Burna Boy winning Best International Act and Wizkid scoring Best African Act (in association with Afrozons). The ceremony also featured two Afrobeats royalties – Davido and Tiwa Savage – delivering stellar performances, filmed outside the UK especially for the night.
Davido, who took home Best African Act in 2017, brought joyful vibes with his performances of ‘The Best’ and ‘FEM’ from his latest album A Better Time. Tiwa Savage brought powerhouse African queen energy to the stage performing her medley of hits ‘Koroba’ and ‘Dangerous Love’.
“This wasn’t just an awards show, this is an empowering show with a purpose that represents opportunity over inequality.”
Acclaimed British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen CBE was honoured with the MOBO’s Inspiration Award. The London-born director whose Small Axe anthology series is currently getting rave reviews, joins a prestigious line-up of past recipients of this award including Idris Elba OBE. McQueen said: “This is an extraordinary prize. Thank you so much. The MOBO Awards for me is part of the idea of Small Acts. When people didn’t want to recognise us, we recognised ourselves and that’s given me the inspiration to go forward.”
Speaking about this year’s ceremony, MOBO founder, Kanya King, said: “I feel very proud about this year’s show which will go down in history because of its unique commentary and set of circumstances. We will archive it for future generations to watch and learn about the times we are currently in.”
“This wasn’t just an awards show, this is an empowering show with a purpose that represents opportunity over inequality, that represents pride for an audience that often feels marginalised, that represents achievement against all odds. There will be new artists watching the show and because of it, and their lives and those of their families may be forever changed. Roll on our 25th anniversary next year – let’s get ready to MOBOLISE!”
Full list of 2020 MOBO Awards winners
Best Male Act
Best Female Act
(In Association With ISAWITFIRST)
Album of The Year
Nines – ‘Crabs In A Bucket’
Song of The Year [Public Voted] Young T & Bugsey Feat. Headie One – ‘Don’t Rush’
(In Association with Arts Council England) [Public Voted] Aitch
Video of The Year
NSG – ‘Lupita’ (Directed By Kevin Hudson)
Best R&B/Soul Act
Best Hip Hop Act
Best Grime Act [Public Voted] JME
Best International Act [Public Voted] Burna Boy
Best Performance In A TV Show/Film [Public Voted] Micheal Ward As Marco – ‘Blue Story’
Best Media Personality [Public Voted] Chunkz
Best Album (2017 – 2019)
This is a one-off additional category just for this year’s MOBO Awards to highlight the best albums released from 1st September 2017 – 31st August 2019.
Ella Mai – ‘Ella Mai’
Best African Act
(In Association With Afrozons) [Public Voted] Wizkid
Best Reggae Act
Best Gospel Act
(In Association With Premier Gospel)
Best Jazz Act
(In Association With BBC Radio 6 Music)
Ego – Ella May
Watch the awards in full on MOBO’s YouTube channel