The celebrated MOBO Awards will be held in Leeds for the first time later this year, as it marks its 20th anniversary of supporting black artists in music.
The awards show welcomed a host of famous artists at First Direct Arena on November 4th 2015. MOBO Awards Founder and CEO, Kanya King made the surprise announcement on August Bank Holiday Monday at Leeds West Indian Carnival to thousands who flocked to the city for Europe’s longest running Caribbean Carnival.
Ms King said: “There couldn’t have been a better year for Leeds to play host to the MOBOs, the year they start their bid for their city to become the European Capital of Culture. We are thrilled to announce that our 20th show will be in this great city in its beautiful arena and we look forward to delivering a spectacular and very dynamic show that will be remembered for years to come to inspire the next generation of upcoming talent.”
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said at the time of the announcement: “It’s a massive coup for Leeds to be hosting the MOBO awards and a huge endorsement of our status as a city that celebrates culture and diversity.
“I can’t think of a better way to make this prestigious announcement than at Leeds West Indian Carnival, which for so long has been one of the most dynamic and exciting events on our cultural calendar and a passionate celebration of both community and heritage.
“As we prepare our bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023, events like the MOBO Awards and the Leeds West Indian Carnival will be an integral part of our efforts to showcase the very best that Leeds has to offer.”
The famed awards for ‘Music of Black Origin’ have previously been held in London and Glasgow attracting crowds of over 100,000 and TV audiences of more than 500 million viewers. The star-studded annual awards have featured global superstars and celebrities including Rihanna, John Legend, Black Eyed Peas, Sam Smith, Destiny’s Child and Leeds-born Corinne Bailey Rae and Mel B.
Leeds West Indian Carnival Founder and Chair, Arthur France commented: “The Bank Holiday is always a great day for Leeds to showcase the music and heritage of Carnival to audiences from near and far. Announcing the MOBO Awards are coming to the city is simply the icing on the cake – it’s great for Carnival and a fantastic coup for culture and entertainment in Leeds.”
Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive for Leeds Business Improvement District (BID, who are supporting the MOBO Awards in Leeds said: “Supporting business and tourism were key priorities for Leeds BID and successfully persuading MOBO to choose Leeds demonstrates that organisers of major international events already appreciate the calibre, diversity and volume of our hospitality offer. At the same time as hosting a major musical event it will allow audiences worldwide to sample across a variety of channels both real and virtual the variety and quality of the hospitality and cultural offer we have here in the city.”
The line-up for the prestigious event included Rita Ora, Ella Eyre, Krept & Konan and Naughty Boy, fresh from his collaboration with Beyoncé.