Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — U.S. singer Chris Brown was named best international artist at the Music of Black Origin awards during a ceremony in London last night.
In the past the Mobos, Britain’s biggest awards for urban music has drawn criticism for failing to attract stars from the other side of the Atlantic. This time it was some of the U.K. musicians who stayed away.
Leona Lewis did not attend, even though she won the Best Album prize for “Spirit,” as well as Best Video for “Bleeding Love.” Rap star Dizzee Rascal was voted Best U.K. Male for the second straight year. He too was unable to be at the event because of his schedule.
Some in the crowd booed during Leona Lewis’s acceptance speech, which was made via a video link.
Lewis was beaten by Estelle to the Best U.K. Female award. Estelle, wearing an off-the-shoulder fitted dress, got a warmer reception after canceling a concert in the U.S. to attend. One of the first to congratulate her was U.S. musician John Legend, who had boosted her career by signing her onto his record label.
Former Spice Girl Mel B, as the show host, ran though a series of costume changes including one hooded mini dress, while U.S. singer Grace Jones wore a black ruffled gown with full gold facemask to present an award to Estelle.
Mary Wilson, the former Supreme, collected a Lifetime Achievement Award that was given to Motown to mark the U.S. record label’s 50th anniversary celebrations. She sang a medley of Supremes hits and joined the Sugababes to perform.
The MOBO awards were set up in 1996 by businesswoman Kanya King to recognize artists of any race performing music of black origin.
“I’m particularly delighted,” said King, “that British talent through artists such as Estelle and Leona receive the recognition they justly deserve.”
The ceremony at Wembley Arena followed decisions by a judging panel of record company executives and industry experts.
Previous MOBO Award winners include TLC, Eminem, Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, George Benson, Beyonce, Kanye West, 50 Cent and Janet Jackson.
Full Mobo list:
Best U.K. Female: Estelle
Best U.K. Male: Dizzee Rascal
Best U.K. Newcomer: Chipmunk
Best International Act: Chris Brown
Best Reggae: Mavado
Best Jazz: YolanDa Brown
Best Gospel: Jahaziel
Best African Act: 9ice
Best Song: “American Boy” – Estelle
Best R&B / Soul: Chris Brown
Best Hip Hop: Lil’ Wayne
Best Video: “Bleeding Love” – Leona Lewis
Best Album: “Spirit” – Leona Lewis
Best Radio DJ: Trevor Nelson
Best Club DJ: Tim Westwood
Lifetime Achievement: Motown
BeMOBO Special Award: Ricky McCalla