Nova Twins Ask Music of Black Origin Awards to Add Rock Category
In an attempt to garner recognition for a style of music currently not recognized to its full possibilities, Nova Twins have penned an open letter hoping to have a Rock/Alternative category added to the 2021 edition of the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards.
The English rock duo of singer-guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South noticed a void within the MOBO Awards where rock was represented. So they reached out to the annual award ceremony with the suggestion to add a rock category, backing their argument with a rundown of the role that music of black origin has had in the history of rock 'n' roll. Their letter can be read below in full:
Dear MOBO Awards,
We are Nova Twins, a band of two mixed race girls from South East London and Essex who shout through distorted mics and play gnarly bass riffs.
We are writing this open letter to ask you to help pave the way for Alternative and Rock POC artists. We believe that you can widen the representation that ourselves and so many others didn't have growing up. Rock 'n' roll is of black origin, but because of systemic issues that we still face today our POC contributors to the genre have gotten lost along the way.
We have a proposition: we would love for you to consider adding a Rock/Alternative category to your 2021 award show, celebrating the best new wave of artists in the scene today, while paying tribute to the POC originators and founders of Rhythm 'n' Blues and Rock 'n' Roll.
We grew up watching the MOBO Awards feeling grateful for its CEO and Founder Kanya King MBE, who pushed boundaries and helped pioneer black music and culture into the mainstream. We want to use our platform to raise the voices of the unheard, diversifying the space for Alternative POC bands but we can't do it alone. We need trailblazing, influential platforms like yours to back us and look ahead to a more diverse future for music.
People often don't know that Rock 'n' Roll was in fact largely originated by a black woman. Starting her career in the 1930s Sister Rosetta Tharp went on to inspire household names through the decades and you can see and hear her influence in the works of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Jimi Hendrix for instance, who then went on to shape the musical world we live in. Her guitar playing technique also had major influence on the development of British Blues in the 1960s. We owe her a huge debut and with the help of others we want to continue with the pioneering work she started. We feel strongly that this needs to be represented in the MOBO Awards.
This is more than just a category. It's a message to all young black people to let them know that they can do and be anything that they choose, that they have more creative options available to them, other than then ones society has given them. It's up to us all to give the new generation the tools and encouragement to do so. It's time to create a different landscape to the one we entered.
2020 has been a time for us all to reflect and re-educate ourselves. Let 2021 be the year we all take action.
Amy & Georgia (Nova Twins)
While the letter circulated on social media, organizers of the MOBO Awards took notice, crafting their own response. It reads as follows:
We see you Nova Twins! Rock and the alternative music genre certainly has its roots in black music and the contributions of talented musicians in this field deserve to be further celebrated. The MOBO Awards Judging Panel have actually discussed this and we will continue to review potential category expansions for future Award ceremonies. We will always do our best to represent Black music talent across a variety of genres.
The Nova Twins have been steadily building a following since their 2016 self-titled debut EP and really turned some heads with their stellar 2020 release Who Are the Girls?. The album made Loudwire's Best Rock + Metal Albums list for 2020 and you can read more about our take on that record, as well as see the rest of what the year had to offer, in the gallery below.
2020's Best Rock + Metal Albums