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Soul II Soul singer Jazzie B told the 26th Mobos that the awards have put black UK music on the global map as his band was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He took to the stage to accept the award along with the others winners, although Stormzy accepted video of the year via a message on screen, as did Raye, who won best female act.
He told the audience in Sheffield: “This award ceremony here, the Mobos, put black UK music on the map, globally.
“You’ve got to understand that you have the power. The power is in your hands and that goes back to all of our forefathers in the very beginning.
“They came over here in very big boat to the mother country. The children of the Windrush. Look around, we all are children of the Windrush.”
He said: “In 1987 I promised I would put, or help to put, black UK music on the map.
“Now, the reason why that is so important ladies and gentlemen and especially young people, is because in order for us to put UK blacks on the map, I had to apologise.
“If you don’t understand that, that mean that we had no right to do exactly what I ended up doing.
“Today, I share the stage with young artists who are all unapologetic in their move for the future, for the UK, for everything we stand for today.”
He said: “There would be no Lover’s Rock, there would be no Soul II Soul, there would be no garage, there would be no jungle, there would be no drill and, most importantly you people would never, ever, ever, have a chance. So believe.”
A big winner on the night was Central Cee, who picked up best male act and also song of the year, with Dave, for Sprinter.
Sault won best R&B/Soul act, Little Simz picked-up best hip-hop act and Bugzy Malone was the best Grime act.
The Sugababes performed and picked up the Impact Award.
Keisha said after the show: “This is like the stuff of dreams, to be able to have your music be received so well all these years later.
“We’re so glad that our music is timeless. We’re so grateful and humble that people interested.”
She said: “I feel like the thing that makes us special is that we’re just real girls who go and do this fabulous job and basically go home and we’re normal.”
Mujtha said: “”Now I’m having the most fun ever. I literally feel that this is the best time.”
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill was given the Paving The Way Award.
She said: “I’m such a proud Sheffielder. I’ve lived here my whole life and the city has supported me through the whole of my career.
“To have have the Mobos here and celebrate new music in this way and to be awarded as well is like a double whammy.”
She said: “I always listened to hip-hop and R&B. It’s my music. It’s something that’s helped me through the years.”
Ghetts, who was given the Pioneer Award said: “I feel truly blessed.”
He said: “When you tell your family you’re doing music as a young man, your mum’s waiting for you to get a Mobo.”
Ghetts said he would say to his mum: “This is what I’ve won for you.”
Earlier, as she walked the red carpet at the Utilita Arena Sheffield, Mobos founder Kanya King said it was “amazing” coming to the city.
Ms King said: “One of the things that’s important for the Mobo Awards is to honour the past and inspire future, so having Soul II Soul here – they are the musical soundtrack to my life. So, having them here is phenomenal as well as Sugababes and Ghetts, there’s something for everyone.”
Singer Beverley Knight said: “The focus is still on what’s coming through – the new generation, as you can see, of British talent. And it’s world-class, world-beating.
“When I first started there was a few of us, and we didn’t have this kind of a platform. That necessitated the need for the Mobos in the first place.
“Fast-forward to now. Not only do we have the platform for British R&B, British hip-hop, afro beats and everything else, but it’s world-beating. It’s taken over the world.
“It wonderful, as someone who is an OG, to see this celebration.”
Knight said she thinks the most exciting artist to break through recently is Raye, who is nominated but was not present at Wednesday’s awards.
She said: “There are so many acts that don’t get their due.
“She’s been working and plugging as a songwriter for such a long time. And, finally, she breaks through. And she doesn’t just break through. She’s dominating worldwide. Which is an extraordinary thing.
“That would not have happened when I first started. I’m just in awe of what she’s doing.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub