Wizkid and Burna Boy win big at 2020 MOBO’s

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In a show like no other taking place in a year like no other, the UK’s biggest celebration of Black music reclaimed its power with a 90-minute spectacle that recognized the hottest new talent from around the globe, with some special performances that encapsulated the strength and pride of Black voices that underpinned 2020.

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. In what feels like the perfect wrap-up to a winning year which saw him also score his first UK No.1 album, Nines was also crowned Best Hip Hop Act tonight, after first being nominated for this category at the MOBO Awards three years ago.

The ‘King of Drill’ Headie One loomed large at this year’s ceremony where he took home the coveted Best Male Act. The Tottenham-born rapper also locked in a slick medley performance of Bumpy Ride with M Huncho and Teach Me, taken from his UK No. 1 debut album Edna. He also teamed up with Young T & Bugsey on the show for a performance of their smash Don’t Rush.

Mahalia scooped up Best Female Act (in association with ISAWITFIRST) 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).

In the hugely popular public voted categories, Mancunion rapper Aitch wins Best Newcomer (in association with Arts Council England) and while Nottingham duo Young T & Bugsey take home Song of The Year for their global viral hit Don’t Rush (featuring Headie One).

Nigerian music stars conquered the 2020 MOBO Awards with Burna Boy winning Best International Act and Wizkid scoring Best African Act (in association with Afrozons). The ceremony also featured two Afrobeats royals – 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’.

Acclaimed British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen CBE was honored with MOBO’s Inspiration Award tonight. The London-born director behind 12 Years A Slave, Hunger and Small Axe 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 recognize us, we recognized ourselves and that’s given me the inspiration to go forward.”

Kanya King, MOBO founder 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. I want to thank the BBC and YouTube for working together, all for the greater good. 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!”

One of the most exciting new voices in British rap, Kojey Radical, delivered a poignant performance specifically created for the MOBO Awards, titled ‘Good’, which references Black Lives Matter and highlighted the social justice movement this year.

The show also locked in special performances from London MC Ms Banks, who performed her brand new single You Don’t Know for the first time, as well as Snack. Elsewhere, basking in their first awards show performances are rising British rap stars Young T & Bugsey, who dropped New Shape and Don’t Rush, and Nigerian-born Shaybo who brought her signature blend of Yoruba wit with sharp South London realness on Dobale. Elsewhere Stylo G took the party atmosphere up a notch with his potent medley of dancehall tunes Touch Down, X5, Oh Lawd, Dumpling, and Call Me A Yardie.

Critically acclaimed R&B and soul artistes H.E.R. and Tiana Major9 brought spine-tingling vocal performances to the show – with H.E.R. performing her single Damage, and rising star Tiana Major9 performing Same Space? from her debut EP At Sixes and Sevens. Earmarked by The Guardian earlier this year as ‘one to watch’, soul-jazz singer Tiana Major9 is certainly coming into her own this year. The East London talent was nurtured through MOBO’s emerging talent program, UnSung, where in 2014 she entered the talent competition and won an opportunity to perform on MOBO’s showcase tour, supported by The Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation. Fast-forward to today, the 24-year old is signed to Motown, nominated for a Grammy, and is gaining critical nods for her thoughtful blend of soul, jazz, and reggae.

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