Why don’t we have the MOWOs?


In the UK, there’s an awards ceremony called Music of Black Origin, or MOBOs for short. People often ask the question “Why are there no MOWOs?”, e.g. awards for just for white people. Isn’t that racist?

The MOBOs promote music from a diverse genre that might become even more stereotyped if it didn’t have it’s own PR event (which is what awards ceremonies basically are). Justin Timberlake and Amy Winehouse have both performed there, and they are both white, so it’s not just an event for black artists either. (What music would there be in the MOWO awards? Classical and country? Doesn’t sound like it would draw much of a crowd.)

But all jokes aside, the reason we don’t need to have the Music of White Origin awards is because, we already have them. Mainstream art awards, whether they be for visual or audio (or both) mediums, tend to be won by white people, from affluent backgrounds. But that’s straying into the topic of an entirely different (but related) post.

If you are questioning why there aren’t “Music of White Origin Awards”, you may be in a stage of waking up from “white privilege”. It is our privilege, as white people in a white world, not to notice how there are very few black people who win music awards, who act in films, and who appear in books. Black culture/people is/are stereotyped in a very narrow way, and so to combat this within music, they need their own platform to express lots of different types of music within the incredibly broad genre of “black music”.

While it could be argued that music of black origin makes up the majority of popular music (R and B, Hip Hop, Soul), those genres went from being counter-cultural to being mainstream via white artists, like Elvis and Eminem.

Think of the alternative of it the MOBOs not being allowed, where non-majorities wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate their culture freely. I look forward to a day when we don’t need the MOBOs, or any other form of positive discrimination, and after having lived outside of the UK for some time, I am proud to live in a country where the MOBOs can happen, and we can have this conversation about why there are no MOWOs, which is actually a discussion of “reverse racism”.


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