MOBO founder Kanya King receives CBE


When arguably the best Grime artist of his generation-Stormzy- burst onto the music scene with his monster hit,  ‘Shut up’, there was a reference in that song that suggested the greatest validation a Black British artist in the UK can get, is to receive a MOBO award:  “Man were upset about the MOBO Awards, Yeah, I was gassed at the MOBO Awards Why? Cause I ain't won a MOBO before.”

Two years later in 2017 Stormzy won everything there was to win at the MOBO’s; best album, best Grime act, best Male, and in his acceptance speech he praised the MOBOs.

"The MOBOs play a crucial role in the British music industry, showcasing music of black origin," he said. "It's more important than ever that we celebrate black excellence and recognise the achievements of black communities."

But who is the person who for the last twenty years has showcased black artists, particularly emerging Black artists? The brilliant Kanya King.

I’ve known Kanya for a long time, and there are a number of attributes you can readily associate her with: Tremendously hard working, a visionary, and above all, extremely humble. The essence of the MOBO's for her  is all about celebrating our culture, our music and the individuals who make it.

Well now Kanya, we can celebrate you and your fantastic achievement.

Let’s not forget before Kanya's MOBOs there was/is the Brit Awards, which in spite of what has been happening in music, on the ground, it has mostly white music award fest, with Black artists lamenting; ‘maybe they just can’t see us, I guess we Black people don’t stand out’.

Kanya changed all that by creating our own platform.

Well done my sister, and please can I have an invite to this year’s awards!

Simon Woolley