Nia Archives has written an open letter to the MOBO Awards, calling on the organisation to add an electronic/dance category.
The letter was shared across her social media and starts with Nia Archives writing that “it saddens me that it has been decades since an electronic/dance artist of Black origin was awarded a MOBO,” with Goldie’s 1996 win for ‘Timeless’ the last instance she can see. “That was over 25 years ago – before I was even born.”
“Once upon a time, you championed Black dance artists and had categories such as Best Dance Act, Best Jungle Act and Best Garage Act but by the early 2000s, these categories ceased to exist,” she continued. “The MOBOS are such an important institution and it’s frustrating that the categories in their current state are not representative of Black music in all its forms.”
“How can we expect young Black people to see themselves in the music if our own organisations and award ceremonies won’t even celebrate the diverse range of talent that boldly exists in the country? This current attitude further perpetuates the narrative of what Blackness is and it is simply wrong.”
“I cannot stand by and watch the music I love continue to be gentrified and whitewashed…electronic/dance music is music of Black origin. I’m not afraid to acknowledge it, why are you?” she finished.
Last year, Nova Twins called on the MOBOs to add a Rock/Alternative category at the 2021 awards.
In their letter, the London rock duo said that the inclusion of the new category could “widen the representation that ourselves and so many others didn’t have growing up”.
Elsewhere in the letter, the pair said that the move would represent “more than just a category,” writing: “It’s a message to all young Black people, letting them know that they can do and be anything that they choose.”
Our open letter to the @moboawards :
We're asking for your help in the hopes that a Rock/Alternative category will be added to the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards in 2021, recognising the POC contributors to the genre.
Please RT, sharing this message far and wide! 🖤🖤 pic.twitter.com/wol3iCi4uH
— NOVA TWINS (@NovaTwinsMusic) November 30, 2020
Issuing a response on Twitter, MOBO wrote: “We see you Nova Twins! Rock and the alternative music genre certainly has its roots in Black music and the contributions of talented musicians in this field deserve to be further celebrated.
“The MOBO Awards Judging Panel have actually discussed this and we will continue to review potential category expansions for future Award ceremonies. We will always do our best to represent Black music talent across a variety of genres”
The 2021 ceremony however did not feature a best Rock/Alternative category. The MOBOs have yet to respond to Nia Archives’ request.
“I fucking love jungle music,” Archives said while accepting the award at London’s O2 Academy Brixton. “It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can do whatever you like and you can make something of yourself,” she added.