Awards

U.K.'s MOBO Awards Set to Return Following a Two-Year Hiatus

MOBO Awards
Andrew Benge/Getty Images

A general view of the stage at the MOBO Awards at First Direct Arena Leeds on Nov. 29, 2017 in Leeds, England.

The 2020 show would have been the show's 25th anniversary show. Because of the missed shows, it will be the 23rd.

The MOBO Awards, a U.K. award show which honors "music of black origin" (hence the name), are set to return following a two-year hiatus. The awards, which are the U.K. equivalent of the BET Awards or the Soul Train Music Awards, date to 1996.

The next show is set for Nov. 12, 2020 at London's SSE Arena Wembley. The awards were last presented in November 2017. In 2018, organizers announced that the ceremony would take a one-year hiatus in order to plan a "bigger, revamped show" in 2019. It stretched to two.

In a statement, MOBO founder Kanya King said, "We are returning with even more determination and energy to support and boost our culture wherever we can. 2020 will see many positive changes that will impact more and more talented young people -- very proud to be back and to help ensure that the younger generation will also dare to dream."

The 2020 show would have been the show's 25th anniversary show. Because of the missed shows, it will be the 23rd. It will be the first time the MOJOs have been held in London since 2014. A statement promises, "Having taken the ceremony to Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool in previous years, we’re heading home in 2020."

King launched the MOBO awards to establish a platform for a broad range of black music styles, including urban, hip hop, R&B and reggae. The show has also honored grime, jazz, gospel and African music. The MOBOs now frame their show as a "celebration of British urban talent."

The MOBO Awards, like the Grammys and virtually all award shows, have their critics.

The MOBOs have drawn criticism for honoring too many American artists. 50 Cent won both best album and best single in 2003. Other American best album winners are Usher, Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Other American best single winners are BeBe Winans (as a featured artist on Eternal's "I Wanna Be the Only One"), Destiny's Child, Beyonce and Ne-Yo.

The show has also stirred controversy by awarding white artists on occasion. Sam Smith, for example, won both best album and best single in 2014.

In 2003, a boycott effort emerged after Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera won for Best R&B act and best video respectively. (Aguilera won for "Dirrty" featuring Redman.) The Independent described the wins as being the result of the "white appropriation of black music." A MOBO spokesperson defended the artists' nominations, stating that the awards were designed to honor achievements in music of black origin, regardless of the ethnicity of their performers.

Other major winners at the MOBO Awards include Jessie J, who won both best album and best single in 2011, and Gabrielle, JLS and Krept & Konan, who won in both caegories, but not in the same year.

It's unusual for an awards show to take a hiatus and return, but it has happened before. The BRIT Awards, the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys, were founded in 1977 and returned, following a four-year hiatus, in 1982. In the U.S., the Billboard Music Awards took a four-year hiatus from 2007 to 2010, but managed to regain their footing.