Ms Dynamite lights fuses at the Mobo awards

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The Independent Culture

Ms Dynamite, 21-year old Naomi McLean-Daley, won three prizes including UK Act of the Year at last night's Music of Black Origin (Mobo) awards.

The Mercury Prize-winner had been nominated for six awards. She also came top in the best single and best newcomer categories.

The singer, who shot to fame only recently, joins more established stars such as Jimmy Cliff and Chaka Khan among the winners. Ms Dynamite's six nominations equalled the record set by Craig David in 2000.

The rap band So Solid Crew, who walked away with three Mobo awards last year, were nominated for two more this time, including UK Act of the Year, but failed to win anything.

There was a poignant moment when Aaliyah's "More Than A Woman" won in the Best Video category. The singer died in a plane crash in August 2001, but her music still attracts a strong following.

The Mobo awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate a wide spectrum of music of black origin – R&B, hip-hop, rap, jazz, reggae and gospel – and reward artists of any colour. The awards ceremony will be shown on Channel 4 tomorrow.

Earlier this month, Ms Dynamite pocketed a £20,000 cheque for the Mercury. Not only was she the first black woman to win it, she was also, almost certainly, the first to give the money to charity.

Her success was a relief to the pop music establishment, not only because it ended the all-white monopoly on the prestigious prize, but also because the winner was not from the so-called gangsta rap wing of black music.

Ms Dynamite's vocal criticism of such "bling-bling" jewellery-encrusted machismo has struck a chord both with fans and critics, although there have been accusations that she has sold out.

In "It Takes More", for example, she enraged some by criticising the perceived hypocrisy of rap and R&B with the line – "Now who gives a damn/ About the ice on your hand?/ If it's not too complex/ Tell me how many Africans died/ For the buggettes on your Rolex."

Such sentiments have turned her into a safe role model. Born in Archway, north London, one of 11 children of a Scottish mother and Jamaican father, she overcame the limitations of growing up poor and did well at school. Poised to read social anthropology at Sussex University, she chose a musical career instead, which is already a success even though she is only 21.

Importantly for a British music industry in dire need of a saleable transatlantic star, she also has the potential to crack the American market.


Best R&B Act: Ashanti
Best Video: Aaliyah 'More Than A Woman'
Best Hip Hop Act: Ja Rule
Best Reggae Act: Sean Paul
Best Garage Act: Mis-Teeq
Best Gospel Act: Michelle Williams
Best Jazz Act: Norah Jones
Best World Music Act: Angelique Kidjo
Best Producer: Neptunes
UK Act of the Year: Ms Dynamite
Best Album: Alicia Keys
Best Single: Ms Dynamite
Best Newcomer: Ms Dynamite
Best UK DJ: Steve Sutherland
MOBO UnSung Award: Street Politiks
MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award: Chaka Khan
MOBO award for Contribution to Urban Music: Jimmy Cliff
MOBO Outstanding Achievement Award: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes