MOBO’s or NOBO’s

MOBO’s or NOBO’s

In the UK’s music industry an artist’s credibility doesn’t just come down to record sales. There are two award ceremonies that all British musicians revolve around, the beloved BRIT Awards and the MOBO’s. However, there has always been a clear line between the audiences of each show. With the BRIT’s celebrating a rather broad and popular selection of music and the MOBO’s celebrating Music of Black Origin. But for the last few years, thousands of voters, viewers and vigorous music-fanatics have aired their opinions on the development of the MOBO’s…but is it for the good or bad?

This year, soul-sensation Sam Smith left the awards with four gongs under his belt – well deserved I think. However, some tweeters have branded his win and the rest of the event a ‘shambles’, stating that “genuine musicians of black origin must be so embarrassed”. Oh please! As someone with more than enough black heritage and a pretty good ear for music of my own origin, I have to disagree with the keyboard warriors who hated the results. I understand that when the ceremony was founded it was expected for all of the awards to go to black musicians but times have changed. ‘Black’ music’s influence has spread across the world and inspired many artists no matter what their heritage is. Shouldn’t we be proud of that? A white guy releasing the best soul album of the year? That’s something we should want to see more of in regards to equality in music. I’m pretty sure if there was a Music of White Origin awards and someone as highly respected as Frank Ocean picked up the ‘Best Album’ trophy, the black community would never speak a bad word of it!

After that, it might seem that I completely agree with the format of this years awards, but surprisingly I don’t. Nearly a month after the 2014 show, I’m still struggling to find the relevance of one award recipient’s victory. J-J-J-J-Jessie J? Jessie can release some good songs, I’ll give her that. And I know that she is a very hard-working, humble musician but someone please explain to me why on earth she won Best Female Act? Why was she was even nominated in the first place! This is not the first time Jessie has won an award at the MOBO’s, she’s already won five prior to this year! This includes one for her debut LP ‘Who You Are’ – which has as much black influence as a Bakewell tart – and Best Song for ‘Do It Like a Dude’ which is only on the album as a stroke of luck due to Rihanna rejecting it. Maybe I’m just being harsh, and maybe everyone should just be handed a MOBO for putting as little as 2 r&b songs on their album…

The way I see it is that you cannot change the effect ‘black’ music is having on the artistic choices of non-black musicians and no one should want to? But in the MOBO’s case – how about the producers focus on nominating artists who clearly and truthfully identify their music as Music of Black Origin and not just a pop song that happens to feature Flo-Rida and a couple of trumpets in the instrumental break.

-Olly Reeves



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