Mobo awards to boost Scottish ecomony despite claims that Glasgow is ‘too white’


By Cara Sulieman & Oliver Farrimond

TONIGHT’S Mobo Awards in Glasgow are on course to deliver a massive £1 million boost to the Scottish economy.

The last remaining tickets went on sale yesterday for the event which will see the likes of Jermaine Jackson, JLS and Kelly Rowland appear from the red carpet at the SECC.

Paul Bush, chief executive of EventScotland, said he hoped staging the show could start the ball rolling to bring other high profile events like the Brits north of the Border too.

That’s despite a row suggesting Glasgow should never have been chosen ahead of the likes of mixed raced cities such as Birmingham or Manchester because its population is too white.

Journalist and one of the original Mobo award panellists Paul McKenzie said in an interview earlier this week that Glasgow wasn’t multi-cultural enough to hold the event.

Mr McKenzie said: “It simply doesn’t work – Glasgow is just not sexy and it is a very white city. Even Leeds, Cardiff or Birmingham would have made more sense.

“Ask any American artist where Scotland is and they will probably struggle.”

But city tourism bosses called this claim “disingenuous”.

Mr Bush hit back, saying: “I heard him on the radio and I think he’s misinformed. Glasgow is a multicultural city as much as anywhere else.

“The Mobo awards have grown so much they’re not just about black music for black people.

“The music that is celebrated at the awards is doing so well in the charts at the moment and the people that are buying it to get it to number one are from all races and walks of life.

“I think it might have been a bit of London media speak, not wanting to move from London.”

He added: “Everyone you speak to on the streets know about the event and are excited that these big names are coming to their city.”

“The economic benefit is in excess of £1 million for Glasgow but it will show organisers of other events what we can do. Hopefully it will attract lots more interest with events like the Brits in the future.

“This is the first major London based music event that has ever moved. I guess it is a heap leap of faith for both sides.”

He also stressed that the public are very proud to have the Mobos in their country and that welcome will be shown to people around the world.

Mr Bush said: “It is an event that both Glasgow and Scotland have taken to their hearts.

“It was a fresh look for the event which has been in London for the last few years now.

“They have moved around in the capital and I guess they were probably quite surprised what we have managed to put on the ground for them.

“The welcome that both we and the public have given them has been incredible and I don’t think anyone expected it to be so well received.”

Scott Taylor, CEO of SeeGlasgow, said that moving cities was “essential” for the flagship urban music award ceremony to grow into a global brand.

He said: “Urban bands from Glasgow achieved worldwide success.

“And let’s not forget that these awards are actually sold-out, so as a business decision it has been excellent.

“I think it is a shame that people are dismissing Glasgow in this way and, in fact, it is good for the MoBos to move away from a demographic pigeon hole.”

The awards are being held tonight (Weds) at the SECC in Glasgow and will be on BBC3 at 9pm.

Highlights from the ceremony will be shown on BBC1 at 10.40pm on Friday October 2.