I wasn’t supposed to attend the MOBO AWARDS this year. I had so much on at work with 10 new staff starting, a multitude of meetings and interviews and the very next day post MOBO I was speaking at a big important news press seminar in central London so all aspects of my diary said no to going to Glasgow for the annual urban music event. However that was soon to change when MOBO CEO Kanya King asked if I wanted to come, and then Adidas big wig Paola Lucktung persuaded me to sit on the Adidas superstar filled table full of their athletes and music acts that the brand support.
So I found myself Tuesday night at the VIP screening for new film THE HELP (in UK cinemas from October 26th) at the Walt Disney buildings private screening rooms with PR maven Jodie Dalmeda (SONY, VIRGIN UNITE, RICHARD BRANSON) and branding consultant DAREN DIXON. I had been warned that the film, which has been number 12 on top of the American movie charts this year for many weeks, was a tear jerker and I would need tissues. Nothing had prepared us for the depth of emotional and reflection this story would bring. Having said that it also contains numerous hilariously funny, entertaining moments too. Based on the number 1 best selling book by Kathryn Stockett, the film is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s and tells the story of 3 women of different ethnicities to tell the story of the ‘’coloured help’’. I hope that everyone reading this column will go and see it with friends and family and particularly young people so they can put their current options and lives in perspective of what’s possible and how their ancestors fought for equality. It’s interesting that even with the huge stateside success of this film that I’ve hardly seen any UK press about it. Are media embarrassed or do they feel awkward about the topics and themes of race and class involved?
It was tragically ironically that I went straight from the film, home to quickly pack an over night bag and jump on the 8am train to Glasgow with the adidas team and their table of superstar guests.
Blearily eyed and struggling with all our bags we excitedly boarded the train with me thinking about exactly 24 hours later when I would be on a 4am train returning from Glasgow to go speak at a national news press seminar all day and how exhausted I would be. But then the naughty angel on my left shoulder said ‘’oh who cares-you can do it-you only have one life and in the words of Jill Scott, you’re living your life like its gorgeous’’. I agreed and got on with joining in the naughty gossipy salacious banter that we then indulged in for the 5-hour train ride. So much for the sleep I was going to catch up on!.
I pondered so much…. Will Boyz to Men have us at our tables doing every old skool dance to “cooliharmony”? Will Rihanna jump into a helicopter from her gig at the o2 to Glasgow to shoot a man down? Will Dappy do a Chris Brown and fly on wires in his live performance as rumoured? Will Tinchy really be butt naked whilst dancing on a table surrounded by painted body dancers in his set?. Will Wretch32 really be crashing through the back of the stage to make his entrance in a Traktor? Will Adam Deacon and Preeya Kalidas really snog a la Madonna/Britney as they present an award?Dr Dre, RiRi,Gaga, Kanye and Snoop were all in London- would any of them make it up to Glasgow? Would Ciara jump on the Eurostar to Glasgow from Paris where she just had her wardrobe malfunction?. With those questions I was also being told from backstage at the arena that an urban music British lady had had all the other back stage dressing rooms cleared so she could have the largest and that another uk lady had had £3000 of human hair extensions couriered into Glasgow!
The banter on this train between the Adidas team and the artists was unrepeatable. (I attempted noting it all down for you all but was then threatened with banishment from the carriage and as I love my life decided to forego any drama). J2K entertained us all through the train journey by playing old skool classics liker ‘’love come down’’ by Evelyn champagne king which had me most impressed cos many young uns aren’t even aware of that era of music!
As we discussed our outfits for the night I recalled the 3 dresses which were currently rolled with tissue paper in my overnight bag. normally I’d have been sent a lovely number by D&G but as it was a last minute decision to attend I’d had to make do with my own wardrobe (how terribly undiva!). I had packed a lime green D&G classic, a plum Vercase cocktail dress and a floor length green sequinned number. as we discussed options a top hard-core TEAMUK rapper told me “Sequins are for yardies” which had me quickly kicking my sequinned number to the kerb mentally.
The Adidas team were bringing wretch32’s stage performance outfit to Glasgow and the package was being handled, over seen and treated like a precious new born baby so I couldn’t resist every now and again pretending that it was missing to the shocked PR team! LOL. 5 hours is a long time to ponder and I also felt sad that whilst all UK urban acts were mostly well represented by the MOBO AWARDS now that our initial champion Dizzee Rascal was never a part of it. There was a Mobo-Dizzee fall out a few years back when Dizzee swore never to be a part of it. I wondered if Dizzee cared that he’s never part of the ceremony due to his long running feud with the brand. it would be good to see him there.
On arrival in Glasgow we had a big boisterous lunch before heading off to change clothes and go. the hotel lobby area was like carnival with lots of ladies in their skimpy outfits and stripper shoes accompanied by hoodies that hadn’t bothered to dress up for the occasion. That old cliché of ‘’I’m not bothering to dress fam-I always look fly’’. no love you don’t and you wont get anyway looking like you’re off to do a Tesco’s shop whilst all around you have made the effort!.
Myself and Paola met in the hotel lobby and stopped dead in shock as we acknowledged that we were both wearing similar plum/purple dresses. what a fashion faux pas! but we reassured ourselves that they were totally different shades and styles and so we were okay. Luckily industry peeps understand this. Island records A&R extraordinaire Ben Scarrs was looking slick in his stripy shirt and matching socks combo. Eastenders actress Preeya Kalidas was in a black asymmetrical number-all sexy and dark.
BBC reporter Brenda Emmanus looked serene in a long Grecian style gown, stylist Richard Shoyemi was all smoky dark eyes and glam, according to the Atlantic Music ladies Taponeswa and Mel comedian Eddie Kadi apparently won the prize for most creative jacket blazer, fashion designer Wale Adeyemi rocked a cute dickey bow tie and one of his new look shirt styles. This led to a hilarious moment as another man sitting on our table caught Wales eye. the man was wearing a one off sample shirt that had that very day been requested from Wale’s PR team apparently for a wretch32 video shoot. Well the man rocking the shirt was most certainly not wretch and the shirt was way too tight for him. As Wale sat in bewilderment, Adidas head Paola Lucktung and I roared with laughter.
Sitting on our Adidas table were also acts like Angel with Chipmunk and Wretch next to us. We were easily the loudest and flyest table there!
The Mobo goody bag on each table seat contained a chocolate Lolly pop and Mobo bath oil. My evil angel popped up again on my shoulder and blurted out ‘’hose stripper chic’s later are in for a good time!’’.
Once the show kicked off it was flowing and organised well with the gorgeous Alesha Dixon working her professional magic in a yellow frock-I was disappointed that she hadn’t had more outfit changes-her gorgeous dresses are one of my favourite things to take in! Also not only did her co-host Jason Derulo not add anything to the proceedings, he was awkward and Alesha actually had to nudge him to read his lines a couple of times- in fact I can only assume that the hugest autocue I’d ever seen in my life was cos Jason must be short cited-it was so large even Stevie wonder could’ve read it! (Tim Westwood naughtily stood in front of the autocue jumping around t one point trying to shield the words-hilarity!)
People kept questioning why Reggie Yates wasn’t co-hosting. I have no idea why but I know MOBO weren’t particularly pleased that he had thrown his own after party last year detracting from the OFFICIAL MOBO party and that he may be in their bad books.
The crazy one from N –DUBZ -Dappy and Tinchy were reporting from backstage. We noted they were like an urban ant & dec! then the really talented one in N DUBZ- Fazer and model Jourdann Dunn presented best hip-hop and grime to Tinie Tempah who more than deserved the accolade. Fazer also played piano like Alicia keys alongside Dappy onstage. For me its really Fazer that gives the group any credibility. He may be the quiet one-but I think he’s the most musically gifted. I noted that Tinchy was rocking his brand – STAR IN THE HOOD tee shirt. What happened to BBC product placement rules?
Wretch32’s on stage set was by far the best of the jight with an acoustic intro before an all out female drumming dance crew took over- the whole arena were up on their feet bouncing for the 1st time!
As artist Yasmin and actor Adam “my size” Deacon presented the best video award to Dappy and Tinchy I wondered whether N DUBZ manger Jonathon Shalit had bought shares in MOBO this year as Dappy continued to over take the show. (Or was it his new solo management team jack and Archie-the MP’s sons?)
During Katy B’s performance most of the audience were socialising around their tables but then her featured act ms dynamites joined her and all were focused again.
Mr Hudson and Mann presented the best international award to Rihanna who not only didn’t turn up but hadn’t provided a thank you pre recorded video speech either. Baffling as she was in London simultaneously! Record label folks-Ever heard of a live link?
Half way through the night I was shown the winners complete list. I was really disappointed and completely pissed that Wretch32 hadn’t won anything this year. I know the wines are chosen by fans but for wretch to walk away empty handed and Jessie j to dominate winners surely there’s something very wrong with the system. Jessie j is extremely talented but all those awards strictly on her fan base size seems unfair. Maybe industry and fans should vote together moving forwards?
As predicted when it was Jason Derulo’s live set happened most of the audience visited the loo-oops. On my return I noted a guy wearing a full bear fur walking around. What a nutter I thought before realising he and his mate were the comic duo ‘’Shadrack and the Mandem’’ who were looking like an old version of an R Kelly video and serenading Alesha.
As publicised Dionne Bromfield sang a haunting tribute to Amy Winehouse sounding just like her godmother.
As Dappy and Tinchy did their performance someone quipped loudly that they were our version of Eminem and Jigga, which had our tables rolling.
Whilst I obviously love MOBO and all the UK music acts, it did look as the recession must’ve hit hard because there seemed to be no thought or creativity behind the stage sets and performances this years. Wretch32 was the one A class one but the rest were bare stages, dancers in what looked like rehearsal gear and in Professor Green and Emile Sandi’s set whilst their performance was better than most of the rest, it resembled an end of term school Xmas show with a basic gold tinsel curtain!?
Next Alexis Jordan performed. She’s a lovely girl with talent that is still to be fully realised but her onstage performance had no excitement. She had a Riri thing going on but many around us were muttering that they’d rather have seen chipmunk sing his huge hit “champion”.
Later during the show Dappy came to sit with Chipmunk at his table. The mood was sombre. There were lots of disappointed faces regards wretch not having won an award. he and chipmunk have been major players this past 12 months.
When JLS bounced onstage all in their slick black suits the audience went mad! they introduced Boyz to Men who didn’t wow with a set as good as their recent performance at Hammersmith Apollo. Brandy’s old boyfriend Wanya was rocking some really awkwardly ugly boots and many were questioning why the band was 1 member short (Michael left years ago-do keep up!)
We noted that the vibe between N DUBZ boys Dappy and Fazer was awkward. Many a time they passed within inches of each other with no acknowledgement. Coincidence?
Post show we had a huge crew rolling with DJ Trevor Nelson to his after party where we bust out a few dance routines and Charlie’s angels poses backstage. The dance floor at Trevs party was crazy from the moment my Chrissie Lou shoe stepped on it until the minute we left. Special mention must go to Trev , Mr Play and DJ Charles (Tinie’s DJ) who threw down classic old skool R7B classics and the young un’s all jammed hard to every tune! Wretch, angel, Tinchy and Chipmunk were dancing hard-I was impressed cos I mostly see them head nodding at parties. The dance moves and routines that DJ Abrantee, Wale Adeyemi , Eddie Kadi and J2K were doing were ridiculously impressive! the party was overly sweaty leading to all us ladies scraping sweated out hairstyles into pony tails and taking their shoes off. I was thankful my mum schooled me to carry flat ballet pumps in my handbag-no floor is touching my princess foot-no sir! The clubs dry ice machine was slightly OTT as it was so strong at intervals that we couldn’t see in front of us whilst busting moves. I could’ve been dancing with ANYONE!!! Most of this was recorded by the Grimedaily website for prosperity so check their footage out soon! Adidas head Paola snuck out with me at 3am so I could jump in a cab, head back to the hotel, shower and jump into cab number 2 to whizz me back to the train station. As we exited the car and gripped onto each other as our feet were so sore from dancing and staggered back into the hotel a passing couple yelled ‘’oh you two look cute-are you bridesmaids?’’. !!!