Wednesday 7 February 2024, 10.00PM GMT: Central Cee, RAYE and Potter Payper are the top winners at the 26th MOBO Awards in association with MOBOLISE, hosted in Sheffield tonight.
Buzzing from Utilita Arena Sheffield and live-streamed to the world via MOBO’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/mobotv); the UK’s most prestigious celebration of Black music and culture was hosted by Babatúndé Aléshé and Indiyah Polack, with Zeze Millz as the roaming co-host.
The evening featured show-stopping performances from legends and some music’s hottest rising stars that you can only find at the MOBO Awards. From UK rap to Afrobeats, Dancehall to Pop/R&B and Garage; the MOBO stage delivered back-to-back undeniable global viral hits and classic hits by Soul II Soul, Ghetts, Sugababes, Cristale, Byron Messia, King Promise and Camidoh, plus a 30 years of UK Garage set by DJ Spoony.
BBC One will broadcast the “26th MOBO Awards: Access All Areas” on Friday 9 February at 11.30PM GMT. Presented by BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target, this special will include highlights from the ceremony, exclusive behind-the-scenes action, performances and red carpet interviews.
*** MOBO WINNERS ***
Central Cee scoops two top prizes - Best Male Act and Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra) with Dave for ‘Sprinter’. This brings Central Cee’s total tally of MOBO wins up to 6, tying with Stormzy as the most-awarded rappers in MOBO history. Central Cee previously bagged Best Newcomer and Best Drill Act in 2021, and Best Male Act and Video of The Year in 2022. The record-breaking song of the summer, ‘Sprinter’, debuted at No.1 on the UK Official Singles Chart in June with 13.4 million streams - the biggest week of streams for a rap single ever, according to Official Charts data. It also became the first UK rap song to spend 10 weeks at No.1.
Following a landmark year with her debut album “My 21st Century Blues”, RAYE continues her ascend winning MOBO Best Female Act (in association with SheaMoisture). This is RAYE’s first MOBO win after scoring three prestigious nominations this year. The critically-lauded album, featuring the massive hit ‘Escapism.’ with 070 Shake, positions the British singer-songwriter as one of the country’s most vital music talents.
London rapper Potter Payper claims the prestigious Album of The Year prize for “Real Back In Style”. After releasing a string of EPs and mixtapes over the past few years; Potter’s debut album entered the UK Albums Chart at No.2 to mass critical-acclaim, praising his disarmingly honest approach and authenticity. This is Potter Payper’s first MOBO Award win, after receiving seven nominations in total.
Little Simz wins Best Hip Hop Act, her first MOBO win in this category after picking up Best Female Act in 2021 and Album of The Year in 2022 (as a joint win with Knucks). Her latest album “No Thank You” earned widespread critical praise, with the Daily Telegraph hailing it as the best UK rap album of 2022.
The enigmatic British R&B collective Sault are named Best R&B Act. After surprise-releasing five albums simultaneously and putting on one of the most buzzed-about live shows of 2023; the group have successfully captured intrigue and great musicality to become one of the most exciting acts of the new UK R&B age. Centred around producer Inflo - who won MOBO Best Producer (supported by Complex UK) tonight - Sault’s output spans the kaleidoscope of Black music history; traversing R&B, soul, house music, contemporary gospel, disco, Afro-legacy and Afro-future.
Genre-hopping critically-acclaimed jazz band Ezra Collective continues the winning streak of the past year by picking up MOBO Best Jazz Act tonight. This is the group’s second MOBO win in this category, following 2022’s prize. The quintet’s multi-award-winning album “Where I’m Meant To Be” features collaborations with Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emeli Sandé and Nao. Known for fusing elements of Afrobeat, calypso, reggae, hip-hop and soul; Ezra Collective are breaking the genre’s sometimes elitist rules and creating their own movement.
Multi-hyphenate artist, Shygirl wins Best Dance/Electronic Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag). The DJ, singer, songwriter and rapper, known for pushing boundaries with her sound, has amassed a cult following which has seen her collaborate with the likes of Lady Gaga and FKA twigs. Five of the six Best Dance/Electronic Act nominees this year are women, highlighting the incredible female talent in a field that has traditionally been dominated by male DJs and producers.
Mancunion rapper and actor Bugzy Malone wins Best Grime Act. As the first Grime artist from Manchester to achieve breakout success; Bugzy shows no sign of slowing down. He has scored five UK Top 10 albums and collaborations with everyone from Dizzee Rascal to Chip, Chase & Status to a new generation of rap stars like Aitch and ArrDee. He launched his latest single ‘Lean’ last year, which follows the Top 10 success of ‘Out of Nowhere’ with Sheffield artist TeeDee - Bugzy’s highest charting single to date.
* FULL LIST OF WINNERS BELOW *
*** PERFORMANCES ***
Grime legend Ghetts was honoured with the MOBO Pioneer Award tonight, moments before performing his latest single ‘Double Standards’ (featuring Sampha), taken from his heavily-anticipated new album “On Purpose, With Purpose”. Dancehall’s golden boy Byron Messia opened the show with his inescapable viral hit ‘Talibans’. The inescapable summer smash earned the 23-year old MOBO Best Caribbean Music Act nominee co-signs from Dave and Burna Boy. MOBO Impact Award recipients Sugababes performed a medley of their hits, ‘Overload’ / ‘Push The Button’ / ‘Freak Like Me’. Rising UK rap star Cristale brought a piece of London to the Sheffield stage, performing her new single ‘Antisocial’. DJ Spoony’s curated set celebrating 30 years of UK Garage was a thrilling throwback bonanza with appearances from Nay Nay (performing ‘Body Groove’), MC Creed, MC Ranking, MC Viper, MC Maxwell D, Sabrina Washington of Mis-Teeq (performing ‘Why?’), and So Solid Crew (MC Harvey, Kaish and Romeo) performing ‘21 Seconds’.
Ghanaian Afrobeat stars King Promise and Camidoh brought the vibes with a joint performance featuring their hits ‘Sugarcane’ and ‘Terminator’. MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award winners Soul II Soul closed the show with a solid greatest hits medley featuring ‘Fairplay’, ‘Nothing Compares To You’, ‘Get A Life’, ‘Keep on Moving’ and ‘Back to Life’.
Sheffield’s own Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill was honoured with MOBO Paving The Way Award, in recognition of her trailblazing work on and off field. The Olympic champion and three-time world champion heptathlete is an inspirational role model for many and a passionate advocate for local charities close to her heart.
Ahead of the ceremony, Sheffield gave a big welcome with MOBO Fringe, a series of activities celebrating Black music and culture, organised by Sheffield City Council in collaboration with MOBO and members of the local community. Across three days (5-7 February), the event hosted a talent showcase, a music industry panel - with leading players in the industry offering insight to young talent - and the involvement of local schools exploring the impact of Black music and culture through a range of educational activities.
MOBO Founder & CEO, Kanya King CBE said:
I'm still overjoyed by the celebration of black music and culture we witnessed last night at the 26th MOBO Awards in Sheffield. It's become an instant classic in MOBO history. Since 1996, MOBO has been an unstoppable force, championing black culture, providing a platform for many unheard voices to be seen and heard, particularly in the city of Sheffield, leaving a legacy that will endure long after we are gone. Together, MOBO and our stellar array of talent elevated the scene to such heights and created a real landmark moment. Our hosts Indiyah, Babatunde and Zeze entertained us with such charisma, humour and passion. I also want to congratulate each and every winner, every nominee and performer, who all gave standout performances. You can watch it all again on YouTube and this Friday evening from the comfort of your sofa on BBC One, Access All Areas with DJ Target taking you behind the scenes. You don't want to miss it!"
The 26th MOBO Awards in association with MOBOLISE
Captain Morgan Black Spiced is the official spirits sponsor of the 26th MOBO Awards and the Official VIP Aftershow Party.
SheaMoisture is the official hair care partner of the 26th MOBO Awards in association with MOBOLISE, and category partner of Best Female.
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Since 1996, the MOBO Group 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 over 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. to name just 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.
Beyond the MOBO Awards, MOBO has a social purpose that sees it work together with partners and organisations to bring about positive change, increase representation, as well as celebrate and provide a platform for talent both on stage, behind the scenes and in the workplace. MOBO supports undiscovered talent in music via MOBO UnSung an industry leading annual talent competition and artist development programme aimed at championing emerging talent, with artists such as Tiana Major9, Tion Wayne, Graft, Juls, and Cleo Sol, who received early support in their careers through the MOBO UnSung programme. MOBO also partners with music charity Help Musicians to give grants to emerging artists through the acclaimed MOBO Help Musicians Fund. Across the wider creative and tech industries MOBO partners with leading brands such as Disney, News UK, Salesforce, HSBC UK, PPL, The Orchard and Accenture to support and connect career opportunities for black and diverse talent via MOBOLISE, a platform to empower diversity, excellence and transformation in the workplace. Since launch, MOBOLISE has extended its offering to include a range of free services for talent such as Jobs, Mentoring, Live and Virtual events, Apprenticeships and work experience. MOBO Fringe is a series of events in the week leading up to the MOBO Awards, curated in partnership with the awards host city, Sheffield.
MOBOLISE aims to create a more equitable industry by overcoming systemic barriers faced by Black professionals, which has seen them 15.4% more likely to be unemployed and nearly twice less likely to work in managerial positions, with only 1.4% of creative industry jobs being held by Black talent. The platform was created especially, but not exclusively, for Black professionals and is designed to work with a broad range of partners to provide a community for Black talent to thrive professionally, connect with each other through specially curated partner events, learn through industry leading mentoring and training resources, and directly access career opportunities. MOBOLISE has a new mentoring offering aimed at empowering and uplifting early career, diverse professionals by providing them with more opportunities to progress in their careers. The innovative new platform will match individuals with experienced professionals from leading organisations such as Accenture, Disney, Salesforce and HSBC UK for personalised guidance, and is available at https://mobolise.guider.app/
SheaMoisture is the legacy of Sofi Tucker, a pioneering mother of four and entrepreneur, who sold Shea Butter, African Black Soap and homemade beauty preparations in Sierra Leone in 1912. SheaMoisture honours her vision by continuing to formulate with raw shea butter handcrafted by women in Africa. Shea’s mission is to invest in and empower Black communities and is a global beauty leader in hair care
About Captain Morgan
Captain Morgan, owned by Diageo, is one of the world’s biggest rum brands. Captain Morgan offers a choice of different drinks, each with its own distinctive flavour and personality. Smooth and medium bodied, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold is a spirit drink based on a secret blend of premium Caribbean rums, mellow spice and other natural flavours. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold is the perfect mix with Cola – the secret recipe of spices blend with the Cola to make a legendary mix! Our NEW Captain Morgan Black Spiced (40% ABV) is available at all major retailers, Amazon and TheBar.com.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo is a global company, and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO). For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource,www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice. Celebrating life, every day, everywhere. Please drink responsibly and please do not forward to anyone under the legal purchase age.