MOBO Awards: Ceremony to return in 2020 after two years off

Stormzy at the MobosImage copyright
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The MOBO Awards will return in 2020 after a two-year break.

The awards, which have celebrated music of black origin since 1996, last took place in 2017 – with Stormzy winning the best album award.

But in September 2018 organisers announced the ceremony wouldn’t take place that year, and it’s missing from awards calendars in 2019 too.

Organiser Kanya King is promising the “most memorable” MOBOs event ever for its return at Wembley Arena next year.

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Idris Elba won the Paving the Way award at the last MOBOs in 2017

‘Very proud to be back’

“We are returning with even more determination and energy to support and boost our culture wherever we can,” she says.

King launched the MOBO Awards in 1996.

“2020 will see many positive changes that will impact more and more talented young people – very proud to be back and to help ensure that the younger generation will also dare to dream.”

When it was announced there would be no MOBOs in 2018 fans were told time off was needed to “bring the platform to brand new heights” – and it would be a “bigger, revamped show” on its return.

There has been no explanation about why the MOBOs didn’t take place in 2019.

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Destiny’s Child won best international R&B back in 1999

Previous winners include Stormzy – who won three awards in 2017, and Kano, who won best album in 2016.

Other names honoured in recent events include Krept & Konan, Nicola Adams, Skepta, Lenny Henry, CeeLo Green, Ms. Dynamite and Sam Smith.

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2003 was a wild time for fashion – as that year’s best album winner 50 Cent can testify

‘A missed opportunity’

Analysis by Radio 1 Newsbeat music reporter Jimmy Blake

The MOBOs – like the genres and culture it celebrates – had been picking up momentum in its last few years.

After giving an early platform to the likes of Krept and Konan, Tinie Tempah and Laura Mvula it had started to be considered in the same breath as ceremonies like the Brits – so the decision to take this long of a break, with little explanation, came as a surprise to the industry.

Not having the event during such a big year for grime (Stormzy headlining Glastonbury and Dave’s Mercury Prize win to name a few major moments) feels like a missed opportunity to celebrate an era when grime in particular has made a monumental shift into UK mainstream culture.

That said, its absence has been a bit of a wake-up call for other events to celebrate the artists who would normally be championed at the MOBOs.

For example 2016’s #BritsSoWhite controversy, when four out of 48 nominations for British artists were from ethnic minorities, put a spotlight on the event. The voting system has now changed and more genres have been represented in the following years.

With award shows and festivals becoming increasingly diverse, it’ll be interesting to see what the MOBOs does to retain its place in the UK music calendar in 2020.

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