MOBO Awards: Central Cee, Stormzy and Little Simz win big at Sheffield celebration of Black music and culture

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The 26th MOBO Awards were held at Utilita Arena Sheffield last night (February 7), and what a night it was.

There is no surer way to have an unforgettable night than bringing together the dazzling array of talented artists that were all in one place, and on one carpet, in Sheffield yesterday.

The 26th MOBO Awards were held at Utilita Arena Sheffield last night, a ceremony which is hailed as "pivotal in supporting the growth of British Black music on a global scale".

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Soul II Soul, Little Simz, the Sugababes, and hundreds of others crossed the packed-full red carpet before the show, looking incredible while doing so whether in pink dresses, jewelled headpieces, matching suits, or purple fur jackets.

Skindred and Nova Twins at the MOBO Awards 2024 in Sheffield.Skindred and Nova Twins at the MOBO Awards 2024 in Sheffield.
Skindred and Nova Twins at the MOBO Awards 2024 in Sheffield. | PA

You could not count the number of genres represented by these artists on two hands, a fact reflected in the 24 different awards categories, spanning from grime to jazz, and from hip-hop to gospel.

Among the evening’s winners were Central Cee, not in attendance, who took home Best Male Act and Song of the Year for ‘Sprinter’ with Dave. RAYE was awarded Best Female Act, and accepted via video.

Stormzy, currently on tour, also accepted his win for Best Music Video with a pre-prepared clip in which he promised he would be attending in-person next year.

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Little Simz, Best Hip Hop Act, led the nominations at the MOBO Awards this year alongside Stormzy, with four nominations and one win each.Little Simz, Best Hip Hop Act, led the nominations at the MOBO Awards this year alongside Stormzy, with four nominations and one win each.
Little Simz, Best Hip Hop Act, led the nominations at the MOBO Awards this year alongside Stormzy, with four nominations and one win each. | PA

Little Simz, who led the nominations alongside Stormzy in four categories each, won Best Hip Hop Act. Her attendance was not confirmed beforehand, and left some venue staff and reporters who saw her on the carpet - myself included - somewhat starstruck. 

For their influence and impact, Sheffield’s own Jessica Ennis-Hill took home the Paving the Way Award and reminisced that this was the city where she fell in love with sport, before the Sugababes received the Impact Award for their decades-long career.

The superstar girl group also performed a short set in the first half of the ceremony, and crushed it with three of their classics: Overload, Push the Button, and Freak Like Me. 

Jessics Ennis-Hill (second left) and the Sugababes at MOBO Awards 2024.Jessics Ennis-Hill (second left) and the Sugababes at MOBO Awards 2024.
Jessics Ennis-Hill (second left) and the Sugababes at MOBO Awards 2024. | PA

Acceptance speeches were given with all kinds of flair throughout - Bugzy Malone, Best Grime Act, popped a bottle of champagne on stage, and Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award with a touching speech.

He said: "We are all children of the windrush

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"I promised I would help to put Black UK music on the map. In order for us to do that I had to apologise.

Soul II Soul took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.Soul II Soul took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Soul II Soul took home the Lifetime Achievement Award. | PA

"Today, I share the stage with young artists who are unapologetic. For their country ... for everything they stand for."

The MOBO Awards 2024 were an incredible showcase of artistic excellence, which reaffirmed the importance of diverse voices in the music and entertainment industry.

Artists, including electronic/dance winner Shygirl and nominee TSHA, called it an "honour" and "privilege" to be attending.

The winners

Album of the Year - Potter Payper - 'Real Back In Style'

Potter Payper with his Album of the Year award at the Mobo Awards, at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.Potter Payper with his Album of the Year award at the Mobo Awards, at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.
Potter Payper with his Album of the Year award at the Mobo Awards, at the Utilita Arena Sheffield. | PA

Best Alternative Music Act - Skindred

Best African Music Act - Asake

Best Media Personality - Shxtsngigs

Impact Award - Sugababes

Best Grime Act - Bugzy Malone

Best R&B/Soul Act - Sault

Best Electronic/Dance Act - Shygirl

Paving The Way Award - Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE

Best Newcomer - Tunde

Best Female Act - RAYE

Pioneer Award - Ghetts

Ghetts, with his Pioneer Award.Ghetts, with his Pioneer Award.
Ghetts, with his Pioneer Award. | PA

Lifetime Achievement Award - Soul II Soul

Best Male Act - Central Cee

Best Jazz Act - Ezra Collective

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Best Performance in a TV Show/Film - Damson Idris as Franklin Saint in ‘Snowfall

Best Drill Act - K-Trap

Best International Act - Drake and 21 Savage

Best Caribbean Music Act - Valiant

Song of the Year - Central Cee & Dave - Sprinter

Best Gospel Act - Limoblaze

Best Producer - Inflo

Video of the Year - Stormzy - 'Mel Made Me Do It' (Directed By Klvdr)

Best Hip-Hop Act - Little Simz

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