Thursday 14 December, 11.00AM GMT: The MOBO Awards announce the nominees across 20 categories for its 26th edition. The UK’s biggest and most prestigious celebration of black music and culture will be taking place in Sheffield for the first time ever next year, at the Utilita Arena Sheffield on 7 February 2024. Tickets are available now at mobo.com/tickets.
While MOBO will always have its roots in music, it is more important than ever to champion all aspects of Black culture in the arts, sport and media. With preparations underway for showstopping live music performances, there will also be special honours. As well as the existing Paving The Way and Lifetime Achievement Award, MOBO will also introduce the MOBO Impact and MOBO Pioneer Award. To that end, for this edition the special honours included in the broadcast will sit in place of a select few category winners, the latter will be part of a special announcement pre-ceremony on 7 February.
This year’s nominations see strong representation from female artists and groups, who as a majority are leading nominees across top MOBO Awards categories, including Album of The Year, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra), Best Newcomer and more. A part of the longlist, 22-year-old singer PinkPantheress is tipped once again for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture) after she won in this category in 2022, and is also up for Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra) and Best Electronic/Dance Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag), a new category returning for a second year. It’s been a historic 12 months for RAYE with the release of her critically lauded debut album and Royal Albert Hall show, and now her triple MOBO Award nomination is the icing on the cake. The London singer is nominated for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture), Album of The Year and Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra) for “Escapism” released with American rapper 070 Shake.
Acclaimed rapper Little Simz takes the joint lead with 4 nominations, equal to fellow rapper and collaborator, Stormzy. Simz has been nominated for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture), Album of the Year, Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop Act. Simz won big at last year’s ceremony in London, taking Album of the Year in a joint win with Knucks, which saw a tie for the first time in MOBO history.
One of the UK’s most successful artists, Stormzy is nominated for Best Male Act, Album of The Year, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra), Video of The Year. The widely celebrated MC has won a MOBO Award a record 6 times, including being the first ever recipient of Best Grime Act when the category was introduced by MOBO in 2014.
Following closely behind with 3 nominations each is Central Cee, J Hus, PinkPantheress and RAYE. One of the UK’s most exciting MCs, Central Cee is up for Best Male Act, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra) and Best Drill Act (supported by Trench). He’s been championed by MOBO for years, having won twice in 2021 and 2022, and was tipped by MOBO with his first ever award nominations in 2021. J Hus, the London rapper who has had a career defining year with the release of his third album Beautiful and Brutal Yard, is also on 3 nominations; Best Male Act, Album of The Year and Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1xtra).
In the Best African Act (in association with Loco Music) category, MOBO recognises some of the newer acts who have been thriving in the past year - from South African artist Tyla whose viral hit “Water” became her first Top 40 single and her first-ever Number 1 on the UK's Official Afrobeats Chart, to record-breaking Nigerian rapper and singer Rema who is also tipped, as well as Benin-born Nigerian singer/songwriter Ayra Starr who headlined her debut world tour this year.
Over in the Best Dance/Electronic Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag) category, the women dominate; Aluna, 2022 winner Nia Archives, PinkPantheress, Shygirl and TSHA are all female artists nominated, as well as the Manchester-based DJ & producer, Salute.
The eligibility period for the 26th MOBO Awards is from 1st September 2022 – 31st August 2023. For a quarter of a century, MOBO has been proudly celebrating and elevating black music in the UK. Its 25-year legacy has seen MOBO establish a pivotal role in supporting the growth of British black music on a global scale, championing homegrown talent, and setting the standard in Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Grime, Drill, Gospel, Jazz, Reggae, Garage, Drum & Bass and beyond.
MOBO is proud to continue the Best Alternative Music Act (in association with Marshall) and Best Dance/Electronic Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag) categories for the second year in acknowledgement of the breadth and depth of music of black origin. The Best Alternative Music Act category is in recognition of artists who identify as indie, rock, punk or alternative as their primary genre; while the returning Best Dance/Electronic Act (originally Best Dance Act in 1996) category recognises artists who perform music within the genres of Jungle, Drum & Bass, House, Techno, Afro House, Amapiano, Dubstep, Garage, Disco, Electro, Dance-pop.
*** FULL LIST OF ALL 2023 NOMINEES BELOW ***
Winners will be revealed on 7 February 2024
Since its inaugural ceremony in 1996 at London’s Grand Connaught Rooms, the MOBO Awards has become a calendar staple in the UK and its iconic trophy now one of highest accolades in music. In recent years, it has honoured trailblazers and exceptional homegrown talent like Dave, Little Simz, Skepta, Ghetts, Headie One, Stefflon Don, Mahalia, Central Cee, Aitch, Ella Mai, Knucks and more. Recognising its unique position in Black British popular culture, MOBO in recent years has expanded beyond music to celebrate talent in the arts and media. It awarded an Inspiration Award to acclaimed British filmmaker Steve McQueen, Best Media Personality to Chunkz and Yung Filly, and Best Performance In A TV Show/Film to Micheal Ward at last year’s ceremony.
MOBO Founder Kanya King CBE said: “We are proud to champion this year’s incredible lineup of nominees for the 26th MOBO Awards, who have all brought stellar music and content to our attention through their remarkable work in music, film, TV, online and more. Since 1996, we've celebrated Black music and culture, breaking new ground and leading the way, seeing MOBO evolve and innovate to champion outstanding talent beyond music. This year’s nominees not only represent the best of their genre and artform and an incredible year of music, but also continue our dedication to sustaining an inclusive ecosystem where diverse talent is both recognised and empowered to thrive. With the advancement of our MOBO UnSung talent programme and career development platform MOBOLISE, we are ready and excited to take our pioneer status to the next level, to celebrate and recognise the vast contributions of trailblazing musicians and cultural heroes, in a way that only MOBO can. See you on February 7th!”
26TH MOBO AWARDS NOMINEES
BEST MALE ACT
BEST FEMALE ACT IN ASSOCIATION WITH SHEA MOISTURE
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
EZRA COLLECTIVE - WHERE I'M MEANT TO BE
J HUS - BEAUTIFUL AND BRUTAL YARD
LITTLE SIMZ - NO THANK YOU
POTTER PAYPER - REAL BACK IN STYLE
RAYE - MY 21ST CENTURY BLUES
STORMZY - THIS IS WHAT I MEAN
SONG OF THE YEAR SUPPORTED BY BBC RADIO 1XTRA
CENTRAL CEE & DAVE - 'SPRINTER'
J HUS FEAT. DRAKE - 'WHO TOLD YOU'
JORJA SMITH - 'LITTLE THINGS'
PINKPANTHERESS & ICE SPICE - 'BOYS A LIAR PT.2'
RAYE & 070 SHAKE - 'ESCAPISM'
STORMZY - 'HIDE & SEEK'
BEST NEWCOMER IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE NEW MOVIE ‘BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE’
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
ANTSLIVE - 'NUMBER ONE CANDIDATE' (DIRECTED BY TOM EMMERSON)
ENNY - 'NO MORE NAIJA MEN' (DIRECTED BY OTIS DOMINIQUE)
JORDS - 'DIRT IN THE DIAMOND EP1: MOBAY FEAT. TAY IWAR / STAY CLOSE FEAT. KRANIUM' (DIRECTED BY RENEE MARIA OSUBU)
LITTLE SIMZ - 'GORILLA' (DIRECTED BY DAVE MEYERS)
STORMZY - 'MEL MADE ME DO IT' (DIRECTED BY KLVDR)
TION WAYNE - ‘HEALING' (DIRECTED BY WOWA)
BEST R&B/SOUL ACT
BEST HIP HOP ACT
BEST GRIME ACT
MANGA SAINT HILARE
BEST DRILL ACT SUPPORTED BY TRENCH
BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT (US)
DRAKE & 21 SAVAGE
LIL UZI VERT
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SHOW/FILM
ADJANI SALMON AS KWABENA - DREAMING WHILST BLACK
DAMSON IDRIS AS FRANKLIN SAINT - SNOWFALL
DÉJA J. BOWENS AS VITA - CHAMPION
IDRIS ELBA AS SAM - HIJACK
INDIA AMARTEIFIO AS QUEEN CHARLOTTE - QUEEN CHARLOTTE: A BRIDGERTON STORY
JOHN BOYEGA AS FONTAINE - THEY CLONED TYRONE
LASHANA LYNCH AS IZOGIE - THE WOMAN KING
LETITIA WRIGHT AS SHURI - BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
MALCOLM KAMULETE AS BOSCO - CHAMPION
VIVIAN OPARAH AS YAS - RYE LANE
BEST MEDIA PERSONALITY SUPPORTED BY BET UK
BEST AFRICAN MUSIC ACT IN ASSOCIATION WITH LOCO MUSIC
ADEKUNLE GOLD (NIGERIA)
AYRA STARR (NIGERIA)
BURNA BOY (NIGERIA)
TYLA (SOUTH AFRICA)
UNCLE WAFFLES (ESWATINI)
BEST CARIBBEAN MUSIC ACT
BEST JAZZ ACT SUPPORTED BY JAZZ FM
BLUE LAB BEATS (UK)
EZRA COLLECTIVE (UK)
REUBEN JAMES (UK)
YAZMIN LACEY (UK)
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ACT IN ASSOCIATION WITH MARSHALL
ALT BLK ERA
BEST ELECTRONIC/DANCE ACT SUPPORTED BY BEMA & MIXMAG
BEST PRODUCER SUPPORTED BY COMPLEX UK
BEST GOSPEL ACT SUPPORTED BY PREMIER GOSPEL
CALLEDOUT MUSIC (UK)
GUVNA B (UK)
TOFUNMI ADORNA (UK)
TRIPLE O (UK)
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Since 1996, the MOBO Organisation has discovered and supported talent in music, film and TV. MOBO operates 365 days a year to create events, content, partnerships and opportunities for young people in the entertainment industries and beyond. For 25 years, the MOBO Awards has remained a significant cultural event in the British music industry, celebrating excellence in Black music. Its enduring legacy as the premiere outlet for recognising and honouring the artistic achievement of exceptional British and international talent in Hip-Hop, Grime, R&B and Soul, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel and African music has been unparalleled. Global superstars who have been part of the Awards include Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Sade, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Diddy, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Usher, Rihanna, Cardi B, Davido and H.E.R. just to name a few. The Awards has proudly been hosted all over the United Kingdom over the years including shows in London, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow and Coventry, the UK’s City of Culture. Beyond the Awards, MOBO supports undiscovered talent in music via MOBO UnSung, and across the wider creative and tech industries MOBO supports and connects career opportunities for black talent via MOBOLISE, a platform to empower diversity, excellence and transformation in the workplace.