Monday, 7 November 2016

#ESPnews on #MOBOAWARDS 2016

My sincerest apologies for my quiet over the last few weeks all - if you follow me on Social Media (which of course you should), then you will be aware that I have just spent a horrific period of time in a Bath hospital that I could not wait to get out of. That being said, let's get on with this

Well...another day, another awful awards show - this is becoming more consistent than Andy Murray losing tennis matches to Novak Djokovic.

Friday, November 4th saw the 21st annual Music Of Black Origin Awards, take place at Glasgow's The SSE Hydro, which was also broadcast live on ITV2. In times gone by, I would have chewed off a limb, doused my open wound in hot sauce, and offered it up to a starving rabid dog for a ticket; back in the early days, going back as far as the very first show - which I remember - when it was on Channel 4, the lineups were phenomenal and the MOBOs were England's equivalent to any BET awards show - if not all of them - rolled into one. Black culture had a pinnacle.

In previous years, we could look forward to stellar performances by British names and, once Kanya King's baby started to attract US artists, you knew that it had really started to make its name. So successful did the show become, that it earned Ms King recognition as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (or an MBE to you and I) in 1999, and from then on, the show started to slip, slowly but surely, into crapness. Case and point: this year's show.

In place of the usual one British, one American artist matchup, this year's show was presented by Ricky and Melvin - whom I only know as CBBC presenters - in kilts, the show was already off to a bad start, as I failed to find the recycled joke funny. Introducing Laura Mvula who, I'm sorry, seems like a lovely lady, but has thee weirdest enunciation I think I've ever heard (and this year's show that I've just spent 10 days in hospital near the Welsh border). I'd be lying if I didn't say that it creeped me out in places - much like her makeup in the video they used for her respective category nominations, which creeped me out all-over.

Ricky and Melvin then returned to introduce the first presenter for the Best Male category, but not before giving out the wrong hashtag address for viewers to leave their show comments. We probably should have taken this as a sign of things to come, but alas we were clueless. Handing over to beautiful songstress Katy B to do the honours; she greeted Craig David warmly, who returned the favour by having the audience agree with his compliment on her appearance, before giving a heartfelt thank you speech, that you could feel were seventeen years in the making.

Next followed one of my personal low points of the show, a mashup from Laura Mvula's fellow Brum, 'Lady' Leshurr. I use the term loosely because as a firm anti-bullying advocate, I don't support anybody who has to make somebody else feel bad to get ahead in the name of music or anything else for that matter. Not when you could be using your platform to inspire with kindness and lead by example. Performing a mashup of Queen's Speech and Where Are You Now? Leshurr gave what otherwise would have been considered a good performance, had her lyrics not been aimed at putting people down. For that reason, I won't be including the video in this rundown.

Lovely singer Ella Eyre presented Rapper Nadia Rose with the Best Video award for Skwod alongside the nicely cleancut Ore Oduba. Rose's acceptance speech came from a genuinely stunned and emotional young lady who, unlike many who would follow, sounded intelligent and educated in front of a live audience. The Craig David medley came next. Starting with the classics, Re-wind was followed by Fill Me In, which of course, led into the 2016 update, 16 reviewed by Yours Truly when his #1 album Following My Intuition came out last month. When The Bassline Drops then fed into Ain't Giving Up to close.

The Best Hip Hop category was introduced by Rapper Professor Green, and model Maya Jama. Presented to the Section Boyz, they embodied everything that is wrong with today's youth, by not showing their own group mates the courtesy of speaking uninterrupted, one at a time, in succession; being one of many who brought hordes of people up onto the stage to collect their awards, and just carrying themselves in an altogether common manner that made you embarrassed to be black

A Chase and Status medley, entitled 'It's Funny / When It All Goes Wrong' followed, featuring Frisco as part of the former, and Tom Grennan with the latter. Although not a fan of the Drum'n'Bass collective; their performance was an interesting one, and momentarily, I wasn't bored senseless - but that didn't last long, because next up was Best Grime Act (as if such a thing could exist) and, listening to Chip deliver his acceptance speech was the first time that I was offended by the statement "Big Up God!" I feel like I should be struck down just for writing it...If ever there was a more disrespectful term - I mean, really? Since when was God one of the road man that you link on da corner? Do people not teach their children respect anymore? Piety (I realise I may have been looking in the wrong place for that last one, but still)? It just made my blood curdle to hear, and made me think back to the days when my Grandma used to take me to Church with her, and the Pastor would have me read from the Scriptures in front of the congregation. Never did I envision that these were words that I would ever be hearing in my future!

As I sat catching flies with my open mouth, Wstrn took the stage to deliver a 'performance' of In2 that was completely devoid of any sense of stage presence, whatsoever; for me, it seemed like a prime reason to get In2 hard drugs. Particularly when they were followed by actress Sharon Rooney and comedian Dane Baptiste, presenting them with the accolade for Best Song - but my redeeming moment would come later...for now, I was just stuck trying to figure out who the one with dreadlocks reminded me of; although it did eventually come to me: Mo George - better known as Gus from Eastenders. Come to think on it...he's not on the show anymore - is that him? Someone be kind enough to clarify for me, would you?

Clean Bandit performed next led by singer Anne Marie, and I have to say that the nod for best song and performance of the Music Of Black Origin Awards should have gone to a white girl and band, because honestly, they were the only ones who treated the stage with any respect. I had never heard of either before if I'm honest, but I will certainly be looking out for both in the future - they were my high point of the night! Rockabye was delivered with intense, gritty vocals to a beautifully laid back, soft core bashment beat. My only problem stemmed from the musicians' offensive dancing, but I just had to close my eyes to take care of that. In fact, I'm now sorely tempted to buy the single! PS. LOVED Anne-Marie's trousers, but that's part of a whole other segment...

Sequencing shined through for a minute, as the nominations for Best Reggae Act followed; presented by the culturally ethnic duo, Viscountess Emma Weymouth, and her presenting partner whose name I did not catch, but will henceforth be referred to as Lord Twattington for the awful joke that he delivered during his introduction to Best Reggae Act - won by Popcaan, who cleaned up his appearance at least for the night. Singer Izzy Bizu took to the stage next to perform an emotional acoustic version of her song Mad Behaviour. Unfortunately not my cup of tea; she won numerous brownie points for her eye-catching ensemble.

'Mother MOBO', better known to one and all as Kanya King MBE then took the stage to introduce veteran comedian Sir Lenny Henry who, between them, explained the concept of the Pave The Way Award to British Olympian Nicola Adams, who gave a very nervous, but inspiring speech.

Pro Green returned for a medley starting with a ditty about upsetting the wife. Eye On The Door was soon followed by Old Skool favourite, Jungle. Next, presenter and model AJ Odudu and Olympic athlete Dina Asher-Smith were accompanied onstage by actor Arnold Oceng to present the Best Newcomer award to RnB/Reggae trio Wstrn. It all got very uncomfortable as a wining, bank manager-ish, middle-aged white man got onstage for the now drunk group's acceptance speech - which took quite some time to get to on account of 1) so many people filling the stage (can they not ban that in the future?) And 2) the drunken group members' inability to stop singing their song - once they could find a microphone. Bank Manager's hip movements were highly disturbing, as were his awkward attempts to simply 'rock with' the musical beat. I really don't ever want to see that again. And I do mean EVER.

Leave it to good old singer-songwriter Tallia Storm to turn things around, when she graced the stage in what I thought was a fabulous gown, to present the Best Album award with veteran newsreader, Charlene White. Firstly addressing her co-presenter as 'Chantal', she then went on to refer to winner Kano as a 'they', instead of a 'he'; sending ripples of laughter at her drunken state throughout the auditorium. After Kano's pre-recorded airport speech, Popcaan took to the stage with a twin to deliver his 'Reggae Masterclass'; consisting of tracks Only Man She Wants featuring the gladly long forgotten Sneakbo, and Too Cool.

Singer Shakka and Radio 1Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans were the duo to prove true the theory that the gong goes to whomever shows up, when 'Lady' Leshurr sauntered away with the Best Female award, giving an almost humble recipient's speech. The big scandal of the night however, was about to come. Presenters Ricky and Melvin, who had long since given up the pretence of virile ventilation, took the stage with sombre faces, to deliver the cringeworthy news that the Best Song award - earlier given to Wstrn for In2 - was in fact, the wrong song! The actual winner was Rapper Abra Cadabra featuring Krept and Konan for the track Robbery (Remix). Having explained that someone picked up the wrong envelope, the presenters were quick to exit the stage, leaving room for the melee that followed the stunned Rapper, who ironically, couldn't find enough words to form a tangible sentence!

After a glance at the pre-awards show, where RnB crooner Maxwell - in the UK for his King and Queen of Hearts tour with the one and only Mary J. Blige - was seen announcing Shakka as winner of Best RnB/Soul Act, and Guvna B was lauded for Best Gospel Act. Glad to escape by that point; Ricky and Melvin turned the stage over to Fekky (yes, that's really his name) and the Section Boyz to close the show only ITV2, like myself, couldn't wait for the noise to end, and so cut the 'performance' short.

And that, was thankfully the end of all that nonsense for another year - by which time, the shame of announcing the wrong winner for an award might hopefully have died down.

I was driven to talk about this in my nightly Facebook broadcast, because I was SO incensed at being made to watch such a pile of parp. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I didn't know that it was going to be bad - after all, I did see the line up in advance, but I was committed to bringing you a round up, and so that is what I have tried to do, with a teensy dash of honesty(!) But come now, I must reiterate Friday night's sentiments. When you grow up with the likes of Michael Jackson gracing a stage at award shows, where the appearance would be an event in itself, that you would pencil into your calendar months in advance; when you wouldn't be missing anything on a night out, because everybody who was anybody was going to be indoors, watching the same show as you, this major event in music history - then what do award shows of the current day have to offer me, when there is no-one even remotely close to that calibre around to take a stage anymore? I ask you?

I think I need to take a moratorium on awards shows for awhile - at least until I can see one with a decent lineup which, if we're honest, then by today's standards, when any and everyone can call themselves a performer, is not going to be anytime soon. *Sigh* I guess I'm just going to have to keep suffering for my art - don't ever say that I don't make sacrifices...

Until the next...

Image courtesy of SBTV.