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18 Jan 2024 10:52 AM
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Curating UK Garage 30th anniversary special performance


Receiving MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award













Thursday 18 January 2024, 9:00AM GMT: MOBO Awards is proud to welcome on stage Babatúndé Aléshé and Indiyah Polack as the hosts for its 26th ceremony. Coming to you live from Utilita Arena Sheffield on 7 February 2024, this will be a night to remember as the UK’s biggest and most prestigious celebration of Black music and culture rolls out its red carpet for the very first time in Sheffield. Tickets are available at mobo.com/tickets.


One of the fastest rising stars of British comedy, Babatúndé Aléshé has been wowing audiences across the UK with his current sold-out headline tour. After warming the hearts of the nation with his incredible stint in the jungle as part of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, the award-winning comedian, actor and podcaster is ready to take on another epic career first – hosting the MOBO Awards.


After landing on our screens in 2022 on Series 8 of Love Island, Indiyah Polack’s career has gone from strength to strength. Further to co-hosting the official Love Island podcast, The Morning After with Sam Thompson, and numerous television appearances including being a regular panellist on Love Island: Aftersun; the presenter is sure to dazzle on stage and on screen in one of the UK’s music night of nights.


MOBO Founder & CEO Kanya King CBE said: “We are thrilled to announce Babatúndé Aléshé and Indiyah Polack as the charismatic hosts for the 26th MOBO Awards. They share such energy and chemistry, as I saw for myself when we met, and it will be a dynamic combination for the vibrant and spectacular awards show. I know they will pull out all the stops on the night!


It has been hard not to let slip that DJ Spoony will lead a landmark performance celebrating 30 years of UK Garage, promising some special surprises. Byron Messia, dancehall’s golden boy will light up the stage, while Soul II Soul, our MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, will honour us with their timeless sound that has shaped British music. Some more great names in the pipeline……watch this space!


It will be a historic night where music, culture, and outstanding talent converge at the MOBO Awards – a celebration not to be missed!"


Babatúndé said: “This is just massive and I am so honoured. The MOBO Awards are something you grow up watching and now to be able to say I’m a part of it… it’s an amazing feeling. Indiyah and I are gonna bring some VIBES!”


Indiyah said: “Having watched the MOBO Awards since I was young, then getting to present an award last year, to now hosting the show with Babatúndé… this is like the hugest job ever, and I’m excited! There are so many artists I listen to that have been nominated as well, so it’s going to be a real ‘pinch me’ moment on the night.”


DJ Spoony, Byron Messia and Soul II Soul are the first acts announced to perform at the 26th MOBO Awards in Sheffield. Stay tuned for more to come!


DJ Spoony will be curating a landmark performance to mark the 30th anniversary of UK Garage - expect some very special appearances. Dubbed the ‘Godfather of Garage’, Spoony has been pivotal in helping kickstart the UK Garage music movement in the 90s, which catapulted homegrown talent from the underground scene to the world stage.


Dancehall’s golden boy Byron Messia is hotly-tipped as the next global breakout star from the Caribbean rap scene. The 23-year old Saint Kittian native made waves with his inescapable summer smash ‘Talibans’, earning co-signs from Dave and Burna Boy. Following the release of his 2023 album, “No Love”, Byron has kept the momentum going with the hits ‘Mad Dawgz’ and ‘La La’ featuring Suarez, adding hundreds of millions of streams to his name. He is also nominated for MOBO Best Caribbean Music Act.


Soul II Soul will be honoured with a MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their enduring impact on the British music scene. Emerging in the late 80s from the London sound system and pirate radio scene; Soul II Soul - spearheaded by Jazzie B - progressed from being one of the leaders of the 80s warehouse scene to pioneering British black music around the world, selling over 10 million records along the way with their club classics steeped in R&B, soul and funk.

MOBO Awards Sheffield - The Fringe organised by Sheffield City Council in collaboration with MOBO and members of the local community, will take place in the run up to the awards show on 7 February, and will see the city showcase all it has to offer in the way of Black music and culture. From Monday 5 February right up to the Awards, the city will be transformed into a haven for lovers of Black music and culture. Sheffield’s best new and emerging talent from across the MOBO genres will perform at a talent showcase on 5 February. The city will also play host to a music industry panel, with leading players in the industry offering insight to young talent. Local schools will also be getting involved in the action, exploring the impact of Black music and culture through a range of educational activities. With the Fringe finale celebration on the day of the Awards in the city centre.




Nominees across the 26th MOBO Awards come from a diverse range of 20 categories that include Little Simz and Stormzy, who are both tied with the most number of nominations (four each).


Little Simz has been nominated for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture), Album of the Year, Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop Act. Simz won big at last year’s ceremony in London, taking Album of the Year in a joint win with Knucks, which saw a tie for the first time in MOBO history.


Stormzy is up for Best Male Act, Album of The Year, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra), Video of The Year. The widely celebrated MC has won a MOBO Award a record 6 times, including being the first ever recipient of Best Grime Act when the category was introduced by MOBO in 2014.


This year’s nominations see strong representation from female artists and groups, who as a majority are leading nominees across top MOBO Awards categories, including Album of The Year, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra), Best Newcomer and more. A part of the longlist, 22-year-old singer PinkPantheress is tipped once again for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture) after she won in this category in 2022, and is also up for Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra) and Best Electronic/Dance Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag), a new category returning for a second year. It’s been a historic 12 months for RAYE with the release of her critically lauded debut album and Royal Albert Hall show, and now her triple MOBO Award nomination is the icing on the cake. The London singer is nominated for Best Female Act (in association with Shea Moisture), Album of The Year and Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra) for “Escapism” released with American rapper 070 Shake.


Following closely behind with 3 nominations each is Central Cee, J Hus, PinkPantheress and RAYE. One of the UK’s most exciting MCs, Central Cee is up for Best Male Act, Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra) and Best Drill Act (supported by Trench). He’s been championed by MOBO for years, having won twice in 2021 and 2022, and was tipped by MOBO with his first ever award nominations in 2021. J Hus, the London rapper who has had a career defining year with the release of his third album Beautiful and Brutal Yard, is also on 3 nominations; Best Male Act, Album of The Year and Song of The Year (supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra).


In the Best African Act (in association with Loco Music) category, MOBO recognises some of the newer acts who have been thriving in the past year - from South African artist Tyla whose viral hit “Water” became her first Top 40 single and her first-ever Number 1 on the UK's Official Afrobeats Chart, to record-breaking Nigerian rapper and singer Rema who is also tipped, as well as Benin-born Nigerian singer/songwriter Ayra Starr who headlined her debut world tour this year.


Over in the Best Dance/Electronic Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag) category, the women dominate; Aluna, 2022 winner Nia Archives, PinkPantheress, Shygirl and TSHA are all female artists nominated, as well as the Manchester-based DJ & producer, Salute.


MOBO is proud to continue the Best Alternative Music Act (in association with Marshall) and Best Dance/Electronic Act (supported by BEMA & Mixmag) categories for the second year in acknowledgement of the breadth and depth of music of black origin. The Best Alternative Music Act category is in recognition of artists who identify as indie, rock, punk or alternative as their primary genre; while the returning Best Dance/Electronic Act (originally Best Dance Act in 1996) category recognises artists who perform music within the genres of Jungle, Drum & Bass, House, Techno, Afro House, Amapiano, Dubstep, Garage, Disco, Electro, Dance-pop.


While MOBO will always have its roots in music, it is more important than ever to champion all aspects of Black culture in the arts, sport and media. With preparations underway for showstopping live music performances, there will also be special honours with Paving The Way and Lifetime Achievement Award. To that end, for this edition the special honours included in the broadcast will sit in place of a select few category winners, the latter will be part of a special announcement pre-ceremony on 7 February.


Since its inaugural ceremony in 1996 at London’s Grand Connaught Rooms, the MOBO Awards has become a calendar staple in the UK and its iconic trophy now one of highest accolades in music. In recent years, it has honoured trailblazers and exceptional homegrown talent like Dave, Little Simz, Skepta, Ghetts, Headie One, Stefflon Don, Mahalia, Central Cee, Aitch, Ella Mai, Knucks and more. Recognising its unique position in Black British popular culture, MOBO in recent years has expanded beyond music to celebrate talent in the arts and media. It awarded an Inspiration Award to acclaimed British filmmaker Steve McQueen, Best Media Personality to Chunkz and Yung Filly, and Best Performance In A TV Show/Film to Micheal Ward at last year’s ceremony.




Note to editors:


Arena Tickets are on sale via www.MOBO.com/tickets

VIP packages are available to purchase. To find out more information, please visit mobo.com/awards


For media enquiries, contact The Outside Organisation:

David Lim –  david@outsideorganisation.com

Suzie Fellows – suzie@outsideorganisation.com


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About MOBO

Since 1996, the MOBO Group has discovered and supported talent in music, film and TV. MOBO operates 365 days a year to create events, content, partnerships and opportunities for young people in the entertainment industries and beyond. For over 25 years, the MOBO Awards has remained a significant cultural event in the British music industry, celebrating excellence in Black music. Its enduring legacy as the premiere outlet for recognising and honouring the artistic achievement of exceptional British and international talent in Hip-Hop, Grime, R&B and Soul, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel and African music has been unparalleled. Global superstars who have been part of the Awards include Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Sade, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Diddy, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Usher, Rihanna, Cardi B, Davido and H.E.R. to name just a few. The Awards has proudly been hosted all over the United Kingdom over the years including shows in London, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow and Coventry, the UK’s City of Culture. Beyond the Awards, MOBO supports undiscovered talent in music via MOBO UnSung, and across the wider creative and tech industries MOBO supports and connects career opportunities for black talent via MOBOLISE, a platform to empower diversity, excellence and transformation in the workplace.