Their annual nominations launch party this week at the Grand Connaught Rooms, was the best one ever in my humble opinion. Its true there have been launches in the past with more car crash celebs in attendance, but this year really upped the ante in all areas. The ballroom was set up like an awards show, with beautifully dressed tables. Each table had bottles of water, wine and champagne.
GRAPHICS HEAD HONCHO TROY DAVIS, PHOTOGRAPHER PAUL H AND TALENT MANAGER/PHOTOGRAPHER RICHIE P ENJOY THE SWEETIE CORNER!
In each corner of the room was an exciting thing to engage with. In one corner, a sweetie station with old skool sweets like cola cubes and sherbet spaceships, in another, a giant group sized photo booth by the Phototainment Company which had the best instruction video with poses that had party goers shrieking in delight. Everyone passed through the Guest Stars photo booth and had their MOBO 18 pictures printed and tweeted throughout the night.
Copious amounts of mini food platters like fish and chips and mini burgers and beverages galore were served on silver platters. I have been to every MOBO launch party and can tell you, the mainstream most certainly takes the scene more seriously now!
A LADY THAT BROUGHT UP A GENERATION OF YOUNG TV VIEWERS ON PLAYSCHOOL- FLOELLA BENJAMIN!
Everything about this years launch felt different. Media and celebs were scanned in using HTC One devices, which were also on display throughout the venue. The tables were well decorated with Table Art coloured pixels tubesThe glamorous set up, the stage running order which saw a gorgeous Sarah Jane Crawford from Radio1Xtra hosting, a speech by long time UK music manager Kwame Kwaten, an introduction by CEO Kanya King, a totally surprising performance by So Solid Crew which brought the house down, and a similarly great set by newer act Fuse ODG and Jahmene Douglas!.
THE FUSE ODG DANCERS BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN-THEIR HAIR WAS AS SLICK AS THEIR MOVES!
The vibe in the room felt VERY positive. Hilariously, this night always see’s people in attendance that slag off the MOBO brand all year round, but kill themselves to attend the evening. As Kwame mentioned in his speech, it can’t be everything to everyone at all times. The public vote dictates who wins.
UP FOR BEST ALBUM- ANGEL!
As many a black music act from Jazzie B to Tina Turner, to Destiny’s Child and Fugees, reflected in their MOBO speeches many years ago- MOBO was the first brand to award them recognition, even after they’d been in the industry many years.
FORMER KISS100FM RADIO HOST-NOW RADIO1XTRA- CLARA!
Mainstream brands like the Brits have years when urban music is in favour, and others where it isn’t, so we always need MOBO to be the stable brand that supports year in and year out.
THE MAN MAKING MOST OF THE CURRENT TEAMUK HITS- NAUGHTY BOY!
People I spotted or caught up with in the house included a lady that brought up my generation-national treasure Floella Benjamin with her very handsome distinguished hubby, Sway, Fuse ODG whose dancers had us all mesmerised (we wanted dance classes with them!), Kanya King in a foxy red frock, Adam Deacon trying as usual to stay understated but being mobbed by fans wanting pictures.
KOJO IN ‘THAT’ LEATHER LOOK VEST!
Also spotted- ChoiceFM breakfast show host Kojo in a leather look vest which I kept teasing him about, music industry legend Mervyn Lyn ( Puffy, Alicia Keys), Paul H- the only photographer to the UK urban scene, Paola Lucktung- the go-to-lady at Adidas, Kwame Kwaten- one time member of music act D’Influence, now music manager of acts like Laura Mvula, Taponeswa Mavunga from Atlantic Records, old skool singer Gabrielle who is being brought back with a fresh sound by Watford super producer Naughty Boy, Baby Blue looking sweet in her dress and having fun in the photo booth, Kel Le Roc looking as usual, red hot in a body con dress, Richie Pascoe- the only photographer favoured by young sexy chicks wanting foxy pics LOL, DJ Dave VJ, Radio1Xtra breakfast host Twin B, A&R Benny Scars, Island Music’s Darcus Beese and many more.
A VERY MUSIC INDUSTRY CLIQUE- INCLUDING REMEL LONDON, TROY DAVIS, RICHIE P, DAVE VJ, PAUL H, COOKIE, LINDSEY WESKER.
Backstage, I managed to have a nice catch up with So Solid boys Harvey and Romeo, where we discussed their current life situations and music news. Both seemed older, wiser, and more level-headed and very happy with their now, much more settled lifestyles. A touching moment was when we spotted Harvey welcoming new younger acts, and giving them tips and advice on his regrets in dealing with business. Lisa Maffia wasn’t in the house due to other business commitments so I attempted to make my pitch to fill in- alas, not sure if the boys took me seriously! So Solid really needs to be praised for their contribution to the UK urban music scene. They were the first act that really caught the nations youth up in excitement, and represented the British youth lifestyle and experience.
ADIDAS BIGWIG PAOLA LUCKTUNG AND RICHIE P WITH JASMINE.
It’s hard for some of you to imagine the climate of UK black music 18 years ago. Nowadays its normal to see acts like Tinie Tempeh, Wretch32, N Dubz and so on in the national tabloid press, invited onto mainstream TV shows and charting well in our music charts. 18 years ago this was practically unheard of unless you were Sade or the like. Acts back then just weren’t taken seriously by the mainstream or broadcasters playlists-thankfully we’ve proved them all wrong. Black music teams were uninspired by mainstream rejection, and many of us who worked in the industry, were determined to fight and make the change to see a genre that we loved make it big. MOBO is just one of these brands that fought to make the urban lifestyle scene today what it is, and for that we are applauding it!
ADIDAS VIP HIP HOP KARAOKE AT CONCRETE/ SHOREDITCH!- #unitealloriginals @adidasuk @adidasoriginals
The very next day the industry was still abuzz as adidas dropped its new social soiree- hip-hop karaoke at the Concrete venue in Shoreditch. Adidas always pushes its social engagement both with the public and street corner pop up sports events, as well as industry engagement, with parties and fun. Usually I wont let go of the mic at karaoke but was feeling wary of this hip-hop karaoke as I usually sing (tine deaf kill an animal with my shrieking type attempts). But this time there were only rap songs on offer.
JAS WITH PRINCESS NYAH!
In the house on the night were most of the London urban music industry from djs, to record label staff, to music bloggers,to PR, to Adidas associated athletes, to real rappers and stylish fashion folk. On arrival I wondered if it would be a success, as even though the venue was full, we- the cynical, cutting industry heads- were all apparently too shy to add names to the performers list.
ROLL DEEPS MANGA KICKED IT ALL OFF!
However as soon as our DJ Target kicked the night off, with the gold jacketed, pretty eccentric hip-hop karaoke host, it was a non-stop rap fest. Manga from Roll Deep kick-started the sets and did really well, then a couple of younger dandy’s showed their skills, before rappers Wretch32 and J2K did their version of Kano’s P’S&Q’S to the crowds delight!
WRETCH AND J2K DO KANO’S P’S & Q’S
My favourite moment of the night though was undoubtedly when athlete Jeannette Kwayke and singer Jacob Banks jumped onstage together for ‘Ni*&* in Paris’. The venue went wild and the high was non stop from there on in. everyone attending agreed that Adidas has to make this a regular event- its nice to see each other at awards and shows but having a function where no ones working and all are simply enjoying themselves is key to a successful music community! So two brands that I adore, made this fortnight a better place for all involved! kudos!
THE ADORABLE WRETCH CHILLING OUT AND HAVING FUN AT THE ADIDAS HIP HOP KARAOKE EVENT AT CONCRETE-SHOREDITCH!