London – (September 15, 2021) – MOBO Founder & CEO Kanya King CBE has been awarded the prestigious Strat Award at the Music Week Awards, one of the highest honours in the UK music industry. The Award was presented to her by Craig David, recipient of as many as 6 MOBO Awards throughout his career
Kanya King CBE, an internationally renowned entrepreneur through her role as CEO, founder, and visionary of the MOBO Organisation and the MOBO Group, built her legacy in the music and entertainment industry up from meagre beginnings. In 1996, King began her career with the rare drive and ambition to provide a better and more diverse foundation for Black and diverse talent to thrive and excel.
With her drive and sheer determination, King has built MOBO into a globally respected brand, transformed the landscape for Black artists with the global force that is the MOBO Awards, and helped take Black music from the margins of British popular culture to the heart of the mainstream in the UK and around the world. With a legacy in music and entertainment that spans almost 25 years, her work has transformed the wider creative industries and helped shape the future of music and entertainment.
Speaking on her Music Week Awards honour, Kanya King said:
“25 years in the making, words can’t describe how much this means to me and our culture. Thank you for this special recognition and to everyone that has supported me and the MOBO Organisation along the way. This Award is dedicated to all those who have gone before me and whose shoulders I stand on and to the younger generation who will be making their own mark – go for it!”
To celebrate this special honour, messages of tribute were sent by a variety of music industry and society leaders, highlighting the breadth of Kanya’s impact with the MOBO organisation.
From major record label heads Max Lousada (Warner Music), Jason Iley (Sony UK) and David Joseph (Universal Music) to MPs Dawn Butler, Helen Grant and David Lammy, artists like Skin, Ray BLK, Rapman and Krept & Konan as well as various other well-wishers.
As one of the most influential and powerful music figures in the UK, Kanya has helped force diversity to the top of the national agenda.
And her determination to drive change for the betterment of her community continues to the present day with the launch of the revolutionary platform, MOBOLISE; a digital platform to connect black talent with the best career opportunities within the most forward-thinking organisations.
Powered by Accenture, the MOBOLISE platform is already backed by UK talent including Emeli Sandé, Maya Jama, Afua Hirsch, Mo Gilligan and George The Poet. It will offer the chance for people of all ages to network with leaders and employees from different industries to gain mentorship, boost confidence, find vacancies, showcase skills and attend networking and mentoring events that level the playing field of opportunities.
MOBOLISE will also then offer businesses the chance to reach underrepresented and undiscovered talent and educate their boards to prevent unconscious bias. A number of organisations, including PPL, have already registered to help power the MOBOLISE movement.
And the groundwork also doesn't stop with MOBOLISE as the MOBO Organisation also boasts empowering initiatives such as the MOBO Help Musicians Fund, which sets out to provide financial and business support to emerging talent, as well as the MOBO UnSung competition that provides unique opportunities to unsigned artists early on in their career.
With exciting MOBO Awards announcements coming soon, tied in with the launch of MOBOLISE this year, this Music Week Strat Award honour further solidifies Kanya and the MOBO Group’s cultural impact, as well as highlighting the importance of creating a legacy that inspires change, shifts culture and provides unique opportunities for future generations to come.
Tributes to Kanya:
“Nobody deserves this award more than you do, my love. This is amazing. Congratulations on your Music Week Strat award.”
Tinie Tempah, artist:
“I just wanted to say a massive congratulations on your award, thank you for always recognising and supporting UK talent. We appreciate you.”
Jonathan Shalit OBE, Chairman Intertalent Rights Group
“I’m so proud to call you my friend. After 25 years you’re now being recognised by the Music Week Strat Award. What you have achieved is quite remarkable. You have literally helped thousands of people all around the world through the MOBO organisation have better careers and better lives because of you, Kanya King. We greatly appreciate and say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.“
Ray BLK, artist
“Queen Kanya, congratulations on your award, you deserve so,so much more. Thank you so much for giving a spotlight fo black music and for doing so when other people were afraid to. The new generation can only now copy and follow in your footsteps because you’re the trailblazer who started it all. We’re so grateful, thank you for your support, for me in particular in my career so far and I cannot wait to see what you and the MOBOs continue to do in the years to come. So much love, congratulations.”
Darcus Beese, EVP Warner Music
“Traliblazer, originator, creator, innovator and groundbreaker - all of the above. Congratulations, enjoy the evening, you deserve it.”
Helen Grant, MP
“I’m proud to know you and to work with and to know you and really proud of you and this very prestigious award is so truly deserved.”
David Joseph, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music UK
“I am so happy and thrilled for you. I am so thrilled you are getting this award for music because that fundamentally is everything about you and it’s who you are. All our conversations are based around what’s new, who’s the new talent, what’s the new song. You provide the stage and you most often give them the first chance they’ve had to perform on a huge stage in their career and they’ve gone on to literally headline festivals and had their music spread around the world. I just want to say your dream came true, you had the idea, you shifted culture and you changed the lives of so many people. Have the most exceptional night, take care.”
Max Lousada - CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group
“Congratulations on this year’s Strat Award, very much deserved. Your passion, your execution, your championing of British black music is truly undeniable. And the platform you’ve given music of black origin is valued amongst the artist community, the industry and the global entertainment space. I remember all of the board meetings over the years, all the late night phone calls on how to problem solve, to make the show better, how to promote that initiative. Your energy, verve and determination has always been outstanding and this is a right and overdue accolade.”
Jason Iley, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music UK & Ireland
“The word ‘trailblazer’ is often bandied around these days. But if you look at what you’ve achieved - you’ve never taken ‘no’ for an answer, you’ve always pushed the boundaries and you’ve always reached for the stars.”
Dawn Butler, MP
“Congratulations on your Strat Award. It’s well deserved and long overdue. I hope this will elevate not just you but the MOBO Awards where you want it to be. I know you’re driven and you had a vision as to where you want to go. Just to let you know we’re all here supporting you and cheering you on. Congratulations, I look forward to seeing it on the shelf with all the others.”
“Yo this is Rapman here! I just want to say Congratulation to Kanya. She deserves all the Awards all the flowers whilst she is here. She done what no one else was doing. I used to watch TV whilst I was young and there was only American TV such as BET on but we never had an awards ceremony to celebrate black original music in the UK. She did what no one else was doing. Then it was very risky. As you know, it is always a gamble when it comes to us. Now it is good to know what she has built is set in stone. Big up any more awards. God bless. Rapman Out.”
David Lammy, MP
“I would describe Kanya King as dynamic, persistent, constant, a celebrator and innovator of everything that is black and cultural to do with music. My mother used to say, ‘if you don’t know where you’re from, you don’t know where you’re going.’ Kanya King’s determination to curate, celebrate, encourage and inspire generations through black culture and music is immense. It’s because of her that we now have artists that are truly and genuinely global and mainstream. Because she has bene there making sure the world knows the contribution of black musicians in the context of this country.”