MOBO Awards return to Liverpool

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Tinie Tempah at the MOBO Nominations Launch 2010 © Offical MOBO website

The 17th annual MOBO Awards are set to take place in Liverpool for the second time this weekend to celebrate the brightest and best artists of black origin.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Saturday, November 3rd with a whole host of special performances taking place to mark the occasion.

A broad range of British and international talent such as JLS, Conor Maynard, Emeli Sande, Wiley and Labrinth will all perform in front of the largest prime-time multicultural audience in Europe.

Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates and chart-topping sensation, Alesha Dixon hosted the Award’s 15th Birthday in 2010 after Toxteth teenager, Ben Osu, campaigned on Facebook to bring the ceremony to Merseyside.

Founded by Kanya King MBE in 1996, the MOBO Awards has given black music and culture latitude a platform for mainstream popularity in the UK, championing local talent such as X-Factor contestants Marcus Collins and Rebecca Ferguson, who is up for an award.

Kanya is preparing for another historic event which she promises will see some great surprises. She said: “We had a fantastic show in Liverpool two years ago and worked very well with the city and Echo Arena Liverpool which makes it a real joy to come back and have an even bigger celebration of the best talent around this year.”

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said that Liverpool has a fantastic reputation when it comes to staging high-profile events. He said “Liverpool is delighted to host the MOBO awards for the second time.  It’s a real coup that once again the city has been selected as the location where some of the music industry’s finest talents will be honoured.”

Soul songstress Emeli Sande and rapper/film director Plan B look set to steal the show as they’re up for the most awards with five separate nominations in different categories. Liverpool’s Rebecca Ferguson is nominated for both Best Female and Best Soul/R&B act, two of the most prestigious nominations at the awards.

Labrinth has caused a stir with his comments prior to the awards © Official Labrinth website

Azealia Banks, Beyoncé, Drake, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Nas, Frank Ocean and Kanye West have all been nominated for the Best International act category.

As with any extravagant awards ceremony, controversy never fails to fur the arteries as chart-topping artist Labrinth has publicly questioned the premise of this year’s awards, stating that they seem to have lost their identity.  His comments are directly related to the inclusion of artists who he thinks aren’t making music of black origin, which he thinks is why the awards were created.

Earthquake singer Labrinth commented: “I think it is a bit weird because Ed Sheeran doesn’t make black music, and neither does Conor Maynard – he makes commercial pop.”

About Joshua Nevett, JMU Journalism