MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists

Ed Sheeran came under fire in July for topping the 'black' 1Xtra Power List

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The Independent Culture

Jess Glynne has described the criticism of white artists nominated for MOBO Awards as "strange and annoying".

The "Right Here" star is nominated in the Best Newcomer category ahead of tonight's ceremony, alongside Ella Eyre and FKA Twigs.

MOBO Awards 2014 winners list in full

But what does she have to say to those who believe only black acts should win gongs at an event honouring 'music of black origin'?

"I find it so strange, it just annoys me," she said. "It's not about the colour of your skin, it's about your music. Not only black people can sing songs and be inspired by soul. I find it so ridiculous."

Glynne added that much of her inspiration came from soul music while growing up, and she credits the genre for the kind of music she writes.

"That's not a bad thing just because I have white skin," she said. "I think people get a bit confused. I haven't experienced any criticism myself but I don’t think there should be any.

"I'm performing at the MOBOs tonight with [North London electro duo] Gorgon City and their music isn't necessarily influenced by soul, they're not black.

"I think people read into things too much and jump on the whole 'it's not equal' thing."


Should Ed Sheeran win Best Song for "Sing" this evening, the backlash sparked when he was named the "most important UK act in black and urban music" by the BBC earlier this year looks set to reignite.

The white singer-songwriter topped the 1Xtra Power List in July, prompting Wiley to brand it "the saddest list in music history".

"Not taking anything away from Ed, he is sick," the grime MC tweeted. "But black artists in England, we are getting bumped. We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns and he has influenced us."

Is Ed Sheeran the most important British man in black music?

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke also criticised radio station 1Xtra for axing dancehall DJs Robbo Ranks and CJ Beatz due to "budget cuts" while keeping club-oriented presenters. "The UK has an issue with racism that we are unwilling to address – it is reflected in negative attitudes towards black British music, but also towards black British culture in general."

The highest placed black artist on the 1Xtra Power List was rapper Tinie Tempah, who came third behind white brothers Disclosure and just ahead of the white son of a former City banker, Sam Smith.


In 2012, black singer and producer Labrinth said that it was "a bit weird" to see Ed Sheeran and Conor Maynard nominated for MOBOs because they "don’t make black music", before adding "even I'm not making black music".

Sam Smith and hip-hop duo Krept and Konan lead tonight's awards with four nominations each. FKA Twigs is flying the flag for female artists with three nods, while Tinie Tempah, Meridian Dan, Ghetts and Fuse ODG have the same number to their name.

Following a five-year hiatus, the ceremony will be held in London at the SSE Arena and broadcast live on ITV2 from 8pm tonight.

Visit HTC’s Facebook and Twitter pages (@HTC_UK ) to find out what MOBO Best Newcomer nominees believe was #TheOne moment, person or song that inspired their careers