MOBO Season 2015 Recap

Throughout October we hope that many of you have enjoyed attending the events or being part of our MOBO Rise With Us Season. But for those of you who missed the fun, here is a full recap.

We chose our 20th year to launch this ground-breaking season of cultural and educational events to celebrate and inspire diverse talent within the creative arts. After two decades of promoting diversity within music, we felt it was time to work with partners across the creative industry of film, theatre, fashion and art, to help create more mainstream platforms for talent and as we have done in music, create a level playing field to ensure that every kid in every bedroom can dare to dream regardless of background or ethnicity.

We have been honoured to have formed partnerships with some of the leading names across the creative arts, including Tate Britain, BFI Southbank, the London Film Festival, Warehouse, The British Library, The National Theatre and Stylist Live, all of us joining hands across industries to collectively address the challenges we face.

We focused our efforts on curating a programme of the highest quality to highlight and nurture the brilliant talent within the urban community across a range of disciplines; from the homegrown critically acclaimed cast of ‘The Etienne Sisters’ at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and the exploration of the golden era of sound systems at the exhibition ‘Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day’, at the new Art Exchange in Nottingham to a wicked new comedy that rocks the foundations of trust and faith in “A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes” at The Tricycle Theatre.

A cornerstone of the season was a series of curated films within the London Film Festival, including a renovated version of the celebrated Senegalese cinema of ‘Black Girl’ (1966), timely Brit documentary ‘The Hard Stop’, which explores the life and death of Mark Duggan and the riots that followed, as well as ‘Fresh Dressed’, a fascinating chronicle of hip-hop and urban fashion, featuring the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. The selection of these diverse films showcased the fresh talent and established names that MOBO Rise With Us intends to celebrate within the entertainment and artistic genre.

In addition to the abundance of artistic offerings MOBO Rise With Us Season delivered, there were a number of educational events, including the PRS for Music Panel session for budding music entrepreneurs, The Labels Fashion Show highlighting the next generation of designers, and Rise With Us talks held at the British Library featuring inspirational speakers on business and entrepreneurs. 

Underpinning the season and building a legacy for future generations we also announced the launch of the MOBO Fellowships; twenty-seven newly created opportunities ranging from fashion to music and art to advertising.

The MOBO Fellowship initiative partners include ITV, Saatchi & Saatchi, Warehouse, London Theatre Consortium, Lida, OMD UK, PRS for Music, The Tate, and AMV BBDO. Each partner has shared MOBO’s vision to support and inspire by creating opportunities within the creative industry or bespoke educational programmes to help develop the next generation of BAME talent.

We kicked off the fellowship scheme with Warehouse by offering two emerging designers from the MOBO network the opportunity to retail their collections for an entire day in the Warehouse flagship store on Oxford Street. This followed a networking event where the new designers were able to meet press and other fashion industry leaders. And that was just the beginning of what will be a year-long journey. The two chosen designers, Brenda Lukwago and Samantha-Jane Agbontaen, will also be invited to the head office for mentoring sessions and workshops with key teams such as Buying & Merchandising, Social Media, Marketing and more. Exciting, right?

This was the first year of Rise With Us. We are proud of what we achieved in a short space of time with very little resource. Our plan is to do more; to create more TV programmes, produce more events, develop more creative talent and tell the stories of these significant achievers whose voices are not always heard. We want to be able to demonstrate that anything can be achieved with steely determination, persistence and the right attitude.

As a result of our MOBO Season, we began our Paving The Way Award this year which honours cultural icons across the creative industries. The first two recipients of this very special award were Wiley (who is known as the 'Godfather of Grime') and Sir Lenny Henry (who is a trailblazer in British comedy and entertainment). Watch the full videos below!

Click here for more information. And look out for what promises to be an even more incredible season in 2016!