A recent Guardian article asked whether the Mobo awards are still relevant. But the criticisms were wide of the mark ? thanks to the Mobos the charts are dominated by urban acts
It's a shame that Dan Hancox, while writing about the Mobo awards in a recent Guardian article, chose to undermine the achievements of nominated artists who have done so well this year and have been flying the flag for British music. Whereas the article focused on three white artists, they were part of a nominations list of more than 60 acts, the majority of whom happen to be black.
To say that Jessie J is not "urban" or "music of black origin" is inaccurate. Jessie J's vocal style is steeped in R&B and soul. She has frequently cited artists such as Beyonc�, Rihanna, Aretha Franklin and Alicia Keys as major influences. The production of songs such as Do It Like a Dude are urban-based tracks, albeit at the more commercial end of the spectrum.
Urban music is at its most successful right now with the charts being dominated by urban acts. But it was organisations such as Mobo that helped elevate this music to the platform it currently occupies.
It's also inaccurate to draw too many comparisons between the Mobos and the Brits. When comparing the 2011 Brit award nominations to the 2011 Mobo nominations, with the exception of Tinie Tempah and Plan B, urban music is not heavily represented among the former. Certainly the categories themselves do not focus on genre categories such as best African act, best reggae, best jazz, best gospel, best UK hip-hop/grime and best UK R&B soul, all of which are Mobo awards categories. The Brit awards are an institution and do what they do extremely well. However, the Mobos is the only major UK awards show that dedicates primetime focus to these particular genres. It's a shame it doesn't always get the recognition it deserves.