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27 Sep 2016 9:00 AM
  • Press Release

Motivate, Elevate and Celebrate - MOBO Season 2016 announced

Acclaimed playwright Kwame Kwei Armah and London’s Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal to deliver inaugural MOBOvation Talks

MOBO partners with NHS Blood and Transplant to launch a ground-breaking campaign

Tuesday 27th September 2016 - Following on from the successful MOBO Awards Nominations which saw Kano and Laura Mvula reign supreme, MOBO Founder and CEO Kanya King MBE together with acclaimed playwright and artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah launched the MOBO Season today at London’s British Film Institute (BFI).

Now in its 21st year, MOBO continues to motivate, elevate and celebrate excellence, through a series of agenda-setting cultural events, a social action campaign and pivotal partnerships leading up to and beyond the MOBO Awards which, this year, will take place on Friday 4th November 2016 at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.

Amongst the activities planned for MOBO Season are a series of MOBOvation Talks featuring high profile speakers, the launch of a ground-breaking health campaign with NHS Blood and Transplant, a string of curated films with the 60th BFI London Film Festival, theatre productions with the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Court, and the return of the Paving the Way Awards with ITV2 to inspire future generations of creative talent.

MOBO Founder and CEO Kanya King said “I’m delighted to be launching this year’s MOBO Season, with the support of so many truly great organisations such as CIF, BFI, ITV, the Mayor’s Office, Donmar Warehouse, and of course NHS Blood and Transplant among many others. Twenty years in, the MOBO organisation has always had a social and cultural responsibility to motivate, elevate and celebrate creative talent and inspire future generations. MOBO, champion of diversity and inclusion, are recognising talent within music, culture, arts, fashion, media and larger society as a whole. Something that is much bigger than music alone - that is what the MOBO Season is about.”

Kwame Kwei Armah delivers first MOBOvation Talk ahead of Rajesh Agrawal

Long-time advocate for diversity in the arts, Kwame Kwei-Armah - currently in London to direct One Night In Miami at the Donmar Warehouse - tonight launched MOBO Season, delivering the inaugural MOBOvation Talk followed by a Q&A hosted by the CEO of the Creative Industries FederationJohn Kampfner.

Kwame is the first of a series of speakers to headline the MOBOvation Talks succeeded by London's Deputy Mayor, Rajesh Agrawal. They are amongst the most inspirational and influential game changers who are defying stereotypes and reshaping society around them. There will be various other names confirmed for further MOBOVation Talks in the coming month.

Commenting on the launch of MOBO Season, Kwame Kwei Armah said “Art does not exist in its fullest self without investing in new talent; diverse talent. So it's a huge honour to launch the MOBO Season this year because the platform that MOBO has provided in its 21 year history across British music and culture and creative industries is not only unique, but has been a game changer. Big up to MOBO!”

#Represent - MOBO partners with NHS Blood and Transplant to recruit a new generation of donors

MOBO and NHS Blood and Transplant have partnered on a uniquely created campaign #Represent, which has been designed to make a positive impact in driving blood donation amongst the young black and south Asian communities.

Explaining why the campaign was needed, Ian Trenholm, chief executive, NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "I am delighted NHS Blood and Transplant will be partnering with the MOBO Organisation in order to highlight the need for more black and South Asian blood donors.  Only 1 per cent of people who donated blood in the last year were from black communities and yet donors from these communities are more likely to have rare blood types and have conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease, which require regular blood transfusions. For people with these conditions, blood from donors of the same ethnic background can provide the best chance of a match and clinical outcome. By developing this new campaign with MOBO, an organisation which has done so much to bring black music and culture into the mainstream, we hope we can do the same for blood donation, engaging and inspiring a whole new generation of blood donors to become lifelong lifesavers." 

The #Represent campaign will be a social media led competition to win VIP MOBO Awards tickets via a GIF Grab competition to raise awareness. At the focus of the campaign will be a special #Represent film, starring talent from the British black music scene, to be revealed next month.  Register today and book an appointment at www.blood.co.uk  or call 0300 123 23 23.

Ten specially selected films celebrating diversity as part of the BFI’s 60th London Film Festival

MOBO Season also features a selection of ten films with the 60th BFI London Film Festival from the 5th – 16th October 2016.  These include Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L Jackson, Angela Bassett, Nick Cannon and Wesley Snipes. Chi-Raq is this year’s LFF Sonic Gala, in association with MOBO Film. Spike Lee’s dazzling, rage-fuelled, in-your-face hip-hop musical re-purposes Aristophanes’ Lysistrata – a comedy about a Greek heroine who leads a sex-strike to prevent war, against the backdrop of Chicago’s South Side.

Other LFF films include A United Kingdomdirected by Amma Asante and starring David Oyelowo; City Of Tiny Lights starring Riz Ahmed; and Queen of Katwedirected by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’oStockholm My Love starring Neneh Cherry, as well as Fonko, A Moving Image, White Colour Black, Daughters Of The Dust and 76.  The full line-up of films are listed on the London Film Festival website at http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff .

Commenting on the partnership with MOBO, Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Head of Festivals, British Film Institute said: “MOBO is associated with quality and diversity and the organisation works with the BFI to help bring new audiences to a great selection of rich and varied films in the Festival. We can’t wait to work with MOBO again this year to shine a light on some truly wonderful new cinema from around the world.”

There will also be Black Star, another partnership with BFI. It is the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors, and sees MOBO partner on Hip Hop Stars Weekend’ from 4th – 6th November. The weekender will see a number of re-released films which feature Hip Hop artists who have crossed over to film, in particular John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood featuring Ice Cube, which will get a UK-wide release in association with MOBO, as well as Set it Off featuring Queen Latifah and Juice featuring TuPac Shakur.

Paving The Way Awards to return to ITV2 for a second year

This year’s Paving The Way Awards will see several British trailblazers follow in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Grime artist Wiley and actor Sir Lenny Henry - who last year laid paving stones in Bow (East London) and Dudley (Birmingham) respectively, to pay tribute to an area that inspired and encouraged them in their chosen career paths. MOBO and ITV2 will reveal the details of this year’s Paving The Way Awards soon.

MOBO Fellowship Initiative

The MOBO Season’s mantra is demonstrated by the results of this year’s MOBO fellowship initiative. It is a talent development programme that creates opportunities for exceptional talent. This year, there have been a number of Executive Fellowships at long-time media partner ITV as well as the London Theatre Consortium

Theatre Productions with Donmar Warehouse and The Royal Court

MOBO has partnered with Donmar Warehouse for Kwame Kwei Armah’s One Night In Miami,Kemp Powers’ fictional account of a real night, taking us to the heart of a pivotal moment in the history of a nation.

MOBO has also teamed up with The Royal Court for Father Comes Home From The Wars, a trilogy of short plays which follow one African-American family through generations up to the present day. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner, Suzan-Lori Parks.


For further information contact:

·         Indy Vidyalankara, indy@indypendentpr.com / 07881 822571

·         Lynne McDowell, lynne@well-red.co.uk / 07763 619709


Notes to editors:

·         About MOBO

The MOBO Season calendar runs from 27th September to December. Other partners of the MOBO Season include: ITV, Live Nation, The Donmar Warehouse, UK Music, Mediacom, Havas, Saatchi & Saatchi, The British Library and The London Mayor’s Office. www.mobo.com

The MOBO Awards were established in 1996 by Kanya King MBE to motivate, elevate and celebrate the outstanding achievements of artists in publically underappreciated genres, from soul and reggae to hip hop, grime and afrobeats.  A pioneer in its field, MOBO is revered as a world-leading urban music brand that successfully champions diversity and inclusivity in music and broader cultural arenas.  Now in its 21st year, MOBO is not just an event – it is a movement.  It strives to support emerging and independent talent and has backed some of our nation’s most-loved artists down through the years from Amy Winehouse and Emeli Sande to Laura Mvula, Skepta and many more. Beyond the realms of music, MOBO pursues its mission to create more opportunities and platforms for talent in film, TV, fashion, art, sport and media that might otherwise go unnoticed.  A drive to deliver social and cultural change is embedded in the organisation’s DNA. With a tried and tested talent development programme, a number of Executive Fellowships in the workplace and a host of annual training and educational opportunities for young people, MOBO influences the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. From chart-topping acts, grassroots artists to aspiring apprentices, MOBO is there to empower and nurture potential wherever it may come from.


·         About BFI 60th London Film Festival -


The BFI London Film Festival is Britain's leading film event and one of the world's best and most established film festivals. In its 60th year the programme sees Headline Galas presented at the Odeon Leicester Square on each evening of the 12 day festival. This year’s festival includes an agenda-setting Symposium event that heralds the BFI’s BLACK STAR project, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors coming in late October. Films within the Festival programme will amplify the season, while the Symposium will ask searching questions about the continued under-representation of black actors on screen, probing why opportunities for black actors in the US and the UK remain limited and aiming to drive forward a progressive agenda by spotlighting and exploring key issues for the film industry. The Festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works. A stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, Screen Talks, Q&As and Industry Talks: LFF Connects during the 60th BFI London Film Festival which runs Wednesday 5 – Sunday 16 October 2016. The Festival programme is organised in sections to help Festival-goers find the films which are most appealing to them, and to open up the Festival for new audiences. The strands are: Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Family and Experimenta.


·         About NHS Blood and Transplant –

It is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. We are an essential part of the NHS and take pride in saving and improving lives by making the most of every voluntary donation, from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells. Our work would not be possible without our donors - ordinary people doing extraordinary things by saving and improving the lives of others. Blood donors can search for sessions, book appointments, change/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at www.blood.co.uk. There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on their location and book and manage appointments. Our donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.6 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England. It’s important that we collect the right amount of each blood group at the right time to meet patient needs.   There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days. The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year.  This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients. We need just under 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future Some blood groups, such as O negative (the universal blood group), A negative and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can.  We also need more black African, black Caribbean, mixed race and South Asian people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.
Twitter: @givebloodnhs, Facebook: www.facebook.com/givebloodNHS, Instagram: @GivebloodNHS, Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/NHSGiveBlood

·         About Creative Industries Federation (CIF) - John Kampfner is Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, the national membership organisation bringing together all of the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education to provide a united voice to both the both the public and Government.


MOBO Season 2016 – Full List Of Events

MOBOVation Talks:

Tuesday 27th September – BFI

Playwright and Creative Director, Kwame Kwei Armah

Date tbc – British Library

London’s Deputy Mayor, Rajesh Agrawal


Wednesday 5th October: Odeon Leicester Square - A United Kingdom (OPENING FILM)

Directed by Amma Asante, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. This is the opening film of the London Film Festival and tells the story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana who caused an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s.

Saturday 8th October: Vue West End Cinema, Friday 14th October: Ritzy Brixton, Sunday 16thOctober: Hackney Picturehouse - A Moving Image

Starring Tanya Fear, Hussina Raja and Aki Omoshaybi. The gentrification of London’s Brixton is examined in this probing and stylistically ambitious debut feature.

Saturday 8th October: Ritzy Brixton, Monday 10th October: ICA – Fonko

Directed by Lamin Jadama. A pulsating journey through the electronic urban musical underground of Africa that looks at how the new sounds are defining a generation, from the team behind Black Power Mixtape.

Thursday 13th October: Picturehouse Central, Friday 14th October: Odeon Leicester Square – City Of Tiny Lights

Starring Riz Ahmed and Billie Piper. A taut, hardboiled crime thriller set in contemporary multicultural London, from the Pete Travis, the director of Dredd and Omagh.

Saturday 15th October: Vue West End, Sunday 16th October: Ritzy Brixton – White Colour Black

Starring Dudley O’Shaughnessy, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Wale Ojo. Leke, a mixed heritage man living in London is a successful photographer. When a message from Senegal calls him home, Leke must confront the psychological intricacies of his heritage and forge a new sense of self. 

Saturday 8th October: ICA and 15th October: Vue West End Cinema – Daughters Of The Dust

Starring Barbara O, Alva Rogers, Cora Lee Day. Julie Dash’s majestic first feature about three generations of Gullah women (descendants of West African slaves) at the turn of the 20th century struggling with the decision to migrate from their sea island home off the coast of South Carolina to the mainland. 

Saturday 15h October: Embankment Garden Cinema, Sunday 16th October: Embankment Garden Cinema– Chi-Raq (SONIC GALA)

Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Samuel L Jackson, Angela Bassett, Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack. Spike Lee reimagines Aristophanes’ ancient Greek play Lysistrata as a dazzling modern-day hip-hop musical set in Chicago.

Tuesday 11th October: Vue West End, Wednesday 12th October: ICA – Stockholm My Love

Mark Cousins and Neneh Cherry team up to direct this superb ‘is it a doc, or is it fiction’ film. Cherry’s Alva is a character whose life mirrors some broad facts of her own (an artist with an African father and Swedish mother). 

Saturday 15th October: Haymarket, Sunday 16th October – Ritzy – 76

Starring Ramsay Noah, Rita Dominic. A terse political drama from Nigeria deals with the ramifications for a group linked to the assassination in 1976 of General Murtala Mohammed

Sunday October 9th: Odeon Leicester Square, Monday October 10th: Odeon Leicester Square, Wednesday, October 12th : Ritzy Cinema Brixton - Queen Of Katwe (HEADLINE GALA)

The powerful true life tale of one girl’s determination to escape from poverty in Uganda by becoming a chess champion, directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.


Thursday 6 October 2016 – Saturday 3rd December 2016 – One Night In Miami

The world would come to know him as Muhammad Ali, but on 25 February 1964, a 22-year old Cassius Clay celebrated his world heavyweight title not by hitting the town, but in a hotel room with his three closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and American football star Jim Brown. Kwame Kwei-Armah returns to the UK to direct Kemp Powers’ fictional account of a real night, taking us to the heart of a pivotal moment in the history of a nation.


Thursday 15thSeptember – Saturday 22nd October – Father Comes Home From The Wars

West Texas, 1862. Hero, a slave, is promised his freedom if he joins his master in the ranks of the Confederacy against the Union. In a nation at war with itself, he must work against those striving to abolish slavery. Pulitzer Prize winner, Suzan-Lori Parks returns to the Royal Court with Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), directed by Jo Bonney