Kanya King had a vision for a music award event which black people could relate to, and to give due acknowledgement to black artists and black music. Today, the Music of Black Origin Awards has become an established part of the British music scene, and is much coveted by those fortunate enough to win one.
The youngest of nine children, Kanya's father was Ghanaian and her mother is Irish. When she was 13, her father died and things were very difficult for her family financially. She did various jobs, from working in a bakery to running her own promotional company supplying people to do market research. Prior to establishing MOBO, she was a senior researcher for Carlton Television, where she was a founding member and part of the production team on the Chrystal Rose Show. She started to develop MOBO in January 1996, raising sponsorship through several companies and re-mortgaging her house. It was only when she obtained a television slot a few weeks before the event that she realised that it was all becoming real. The first MOBO Awards were held at the New Connaught Rooms in London. Since that first event, the MOBOs are broadcast to over 57 countries.
She is currently developing MOBO into a major communications company, and
has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievements.
Founder of Commonwealth Sports Awards
Al Hamilton is seen as the grandfather of Award ceremonies
in the black community. He launched the Commonwealth Sports
Awards back in 1980 to celebrate achievements of sports
men and women from the Commonwealth.
Al came to Britain from Jamaica in 1962 to develop his
career as a
photographer. However, he developed his career as a sports
journalist / editor for Caribbean Times and Gleaner during
the 1970s. Between 1982-1986 he co launched and was editor
of Sports Scene.
In 1982 he was author of History of Black Pearls of Soccer.
In 1987 he organised the first football tournament between
Players and the Jamaican national team which started the
foundations of professional football and Jamaican qualifying
for the e World Cup in Paris in 1998.
In1999 he was co author with Rodney Hines A-Z of Black
Football. Al Hamilton has mentored and supported a whole
of Black British sportsjournalist and developed extensive
links with all black sports stars and athletics over the
last 30 years. This is reflected in the continue success
of the Commonwealth Sports Awards over the last 23 years
and the longest established black awards event in Britain.