Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amy Winehouse celebrates being urban

Amy Winehouse has won in the MOBOs, the annual awards ceremony for music, in some way, connected with being black - we think she qualified on account of having the word "Black" in her album title.

Seriously, though, one of the MOBO spokespeople was dfeending the increasingly white shortlist for the prizes by stressing that it's a way of celebrating how far black music influences all our lives. Which is true, but since even Towers of London could claim to be playing music that has a heritage that can be traced back to black ancestry, and since we thought the original aim was to act as a corrective to the usually overwhelmingly white-faced winners of the Brits, that seems a little weak. The suspicion that acts like Winehouse are thrown in to ensure that there's press coverage of an event that would otherwise be mostly overlooked isn't entirely dissolved by all the reports on the awards having 'Winehouse' in the headline this morning.

Depending on if you believe The Sun or the BBC will depend on how you think Amy was last night.

The BBC:

Winehouse, who sang Tears Dry On Their Own plus Me And Mr Jones, looked surprised when her name was announced as winner of top female artist.

Chewing gum, she said "thank you" twice before handing back the microphone and leaving the stage.

The Sun, meanwhile, suggests she was slightly less together:
AMY WINEHOUSE was back to her shambling worst last night as she won Best Female at the MOBOs.

She staggered up the stage steps looking the worse for wear as she went to collect her gong at the O2 arena.

Then she took the microphone and appeared to spit before saying a brief thank-you.

She followed that with a shoddy rendition of Tears Dry On Their Own – forgetting half the words.

During the performance Amy twitched, pulled at her black-and-white dress and gripped the mic stand as she swayed precariously.

Her version of Me And Mr Jones was slightly better – at least she remembered the words.

Those Mobo winners in full, then:

Best UK male
Dizzee Rascal

Best UK female
Amy Winehouse

Best song
Ne-Yo - Because of You

Best video
Kanye West - Stronger

Best international act

Best UK newcomer
N Dubz

Best hip-hop act
Kanye West

Best reggae act
Sean Kingston

Best R&B act

Best gospel act

Best jazz act
Soweto Kinch

Best DJ
Tim Westwood

Best African act
2face Idibia (Nigeria)


Anonymous said...

I really love this blog and have done for years, but must take you to task on your Amy Winehouse comments. You've made it clear over the last year you don't like her music, which is perfectly fine, but to suggest her style(s) of music are not of black origin suggests you're attacking just for the sake of it. Her two albums incorporate soul, blues, jazz, motown, doo-sop, R&B, rap and god knows what least half of her (at times up to) 15-piece band are black - why is it such a stretch to accept that she would be worthy of a MOBO? It's far more perplexing to me that someone like Jamelia can be nominated... surely it's the origin of the music we're supposedly talking about, not the colour of the person who performs it.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

But, as I said, all rock music and pop is of black origin - Elvis borrowed rather than invented, after all. And since the point of the awards was, supposedly, to celebrate black music since it usually gets bypassed by the main awards ceremonies, giving the prizes to the same white artist who wins at the Brits, Vodafones, NME and MTV awards seems to be something of a missed opportunity. It's a shame that a prize celebrating black music can't come up with a black artist to win the award, and that it helps perpetuate the myth, stretching back to the 1950s, that only white people can make a commercial success of black music.

Mikey said...

Oh, I came here to say the same thing & see that you're already on it:


The MOBOs is founded on the specious argument that some pop music is somehow 'not' of black origin.

Bing Crosby saw himself as, at root, a jazz singer and I can't think of many successful popular music acts since - with the exception of Steeleye Span - who haven't appropriated jazz or R&B tropes as the basis for their music.

Furthermore there seems to be a specious, not to say racist, equation of the word 'black' with the word 'authentic'.

It's all a nonsense. Bob Marley, to pick one example at random,was as white as he was black and it's meaningless to suggest that only one aspect of his genetic heritage informed his songwriting.

Similarly Jimi Hendrix, who can probably lay as much claim as anyone to the invention of Rock (as opposed to Pop) music had antecedents of more than one racial group.

Music is either any good or it's not. The origin of the music or the performers should be meaningless, and constantly giving Dizzee Rascal prizes because there are no other male black artists in the frame (where are you now, Billy Ocean?)demeans him and his work as much as it cheapens the notion of these silly awards.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Mobo website front and news pages (as spotted by Holy Moly)? It's here (screengrabbed here). On the one day of the year when more people than normal might be looking at the site, the person in charge of updates seems to have copied and pasted the list of winners from an email, comments and all, straight into the site.

Still, I suppose it's better than the Vodafone awards copying and pasting their list of winners straight from the Brits website.

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