JLS and Tinie Tempah scoop Mobo Awards

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Pop heart-throbs JLS and hip-hop MC Tinie Tempah shared the major spoils at the Mobo (Music of Black Origin) Awards in Liverpool, winning two prizes each.

Former X Factor finalists JLS won best album and were named best UK act, as well as inducing the loudest screams from fans at the Echo Arena.

Tempah, whose debut album recently topped the charts, won best newcomer and best video for his single Frisky.

N-Dubz and Plan B were among the other winners at the 15th Mobos ceremony.

The awards were first handed out in 1996 to showcase British urban music at a time when it was largely overlooked in the mainstream.

Image caption,
Tinie Tempah has sold more singles than any other artist in the UK in 2010 so far

This year, many of Britain's biggest pop stars were among the winners and performers, and organisers were keen to stress how far Mobo acts and the event itself have come.

Co-host Alesha Dixon said: "I think that the urban music scene is in a really strong place.

"The artists that are here are dominating the charts at the moment and it feels like a real celebration of what has been an incredible year for urban music."

The popularity of homegrown artists also meant the winners were not dominated by American superstars or absent acts - both common complaints in the past.

JLS, the boy band loved by legions of teenage girls, sparked hysteria on the red carpet and performed inside the arena with US singer Travie McCoy on a version of his hit single Billionaire.

Tinie Tempah's two awards sealed his meteoric rise, just seven months after the release of his debut single. He currently has two tracks in the top five singles chart and has sold more singles than any other artist in the UK so far this year.

"Last year I was here as a spectator just watching my friends pick up awards," he told the audience. "So now it's nice to be here and to have finally won something."

There was also a prize for former rap battle champion Professor Green, who was named best UK hip-hop and grime act.

Plan B was named best UK R&B and soul act following the success of his album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks.

He was playing in Dundee on Wednesday and sent a video message saying his schedule was "pretty relentless" but the award "means the world to me".

US rapper Eminem, who was named best international act, was also absent.

N-Dubz won the best song award for their track Playing With Fire, featuring Mr Hudson.

Billy Ocean, whose hits have included Caribbean Queen and When The Going Gets Tough, was presented with the lifetime achievement trophy.

Singer Corinne Bailey Rae, who was nominated in the soul and R&B category, said grime - a hip-hop style that originated in east London - had "gone from being this underground youth sidelined music to becoming the absolute mainstream in British pop culture".

Image caption,
There was a performance from a grime supergroup featuring (left-right) Professor Green, Giggs, Devlin, Tinchy Stryder and Tinie Tempah

"The Brit Awards will look very much like tonight looked, maybe with one or two guitar bands in it," she said.

There is still a place for a ceremony celebrating black music, she said.

"Obviously at the moment this correlates with popular taste. But maybe in a few years' time there will be a new style of music which is considered youthful and urban, and that's often associated with black music.

"I think it [the Mobos ceremony] does try to look at music that might be overlooked by the mainstream - it's still good that there's a jazz award, even though people are talking through it. And gospel similarly."

There were prizes for reggae artist Gyptian, Somali-born rapper K'Naan and jazz act Empirical. Twenty-one-year-old gospel act Guvna B said he wanted to dedicate his prize to young people growing up in difficult circumstances.

Mobos organiser Kanya King said: "A lot of UK artists are dominating the charts. But if you look at the nominations we've [also] got a lot of rising stars.

"There are a lot of artists who've been grinding away, working phenomenally hard, but don't got the recognition. If they don't get the recognition here, where else are they going to get it?"

The Mobos were held outside London for the second year in a row following last year's ceremony in Glasgow.

This year's choice of location was said to have been the result of a Facebook campaign by a local teenager. But Liverpool City Council paid to take the event to the city. A spokesman declined to reveal how much was paid.

Councillor Wendy Simon, the council's cabinet member for Culture and Tourism, said it was worth the outlay.

"The awards provide the city with a national and international platform that will be worth millions in terms of publicity," she said.

"There will also be a huge impact on our tourism industry and major events like this have the potential to attract even more business for the arena. So, it's a win-win-win event.''

The location for next year's ceremony will be announced soon, but it will not move outside the UK, as some press reports had suggested.

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