Tue | Jan 26, 2021

MOBO Awards ‘back with a vengeance’

Published:Friday | November 27, 2020 | 12:13 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Buju Banton
Buju Banton
Koffee
Koffee
Protoje
Protoje
Popcaan
Popcaan
 Lila Iké
Lila Iké
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The MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards “are back with a vengeance”. That was the word from founder and CEO of the MOBO organisation, Kanya King, on social media on Tuesday, the day of the official announcement of the 2020 nominees.

Branded as the United Kingdom’s biggest celebration of black music and culture, the award show has returned after a two-year hiatus, and coincidentally announced its nominations on the same day as the Grammys. Scheduled for Wednesday, December 9, the event will live-streamed on YouTube and broadcast on BBC One. BBC Radio 1Xtra will also explore the last 24 years of MOBO history and look at how music has changed and evolved over the last two decades.

The 90-minute awards ceremony will honour the very best across music and entertainment, and this includes reggae. In the best reggae act category are three males and all of two females, making this perhaps the first time that this category has seen so many women being represented. In 2016, Spice made history as the first female dancehall artiste to be nominated in the best reggae act category at the MOBOs. Before that, female singer Etana had been nominated in 2008.

Buju Banton, Popcaan, Koffee, Protoje and Lila Iké are the reggae artistes nominated for 2020, and the mix is interesting. Protoje and Lila are both from the In.Digg.Nation camp, with Lila being Protoje’s protégé and Koffee and Buju collaborated on the remix of her song Pressure earlier this year. Protoje and Popcaan also have a collaboration.

Buju Banton is the only act to have secured nominations in both the Grammy and MOBO reggae categories this year, and he publicly showed appreciation on social media with posts tagging both the Recording Academy (Grammys) and the MOBOs.

This marks the seventh best reggae act nomination for Popcaan since 2012. The Party Shot singer won the award for in 2015 and 2016. He has also snagged a nomination for best international act for 2020. Female artistes Koffee and Shenseea are the other Jamaican acts in this category, with Shenseea flying the flag high for the women in dancehall. Burna Boy, Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, Pop Smoke, Roddy Rich, Rema, Summer Walker, H.E.R. and Lil Baby round out the best international act nominations.

British hip-hop artiste Nines leads the 2020 MOBO Awards nominations. The 30-year-old north-west London MC has picked up a total of five nominations.

According to a press release, the MOBO Awards, which was started in 1996, is one of Europe’s most significant music award ceremonies, and perhaps the most important and influential event for music makers and fans.

Celebration of excellence

“Celebrating excellence in music for more than 20 years, MOBO continues its rich legacy and ongoing growth as the premier outlet for recognising and honouring the artistic and technical achievements of exceptional British and international talent in the musical fields of Hip-Hop, Grime, RnB/Soul, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel, and African music,” the release stated.

It noted that this year, a strong vein of cultural purpose and social commentary will weave through the ceremony as the organisers articulate a vision of the world as it is, but also as we want it to be.

“This is a year in which so many voices have been raised higher than ever – in protest, in mourning, but also in celebration of the incredible contributions that our culture has made all around the world. MOBO continues to believe in the power of the culture to bring people together,” the statement ended.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com