Advice From Our Community

Kanya King CBE, Founder of the MOBO Awards: The harder you work, the luckier you get

Kanya King CBE, Founder of the MOBO Awards: The harder you work, the luckier you get

Tuesday, 05 March 2019

Kanya King is living proof of the old adage that a genuine leader moulds, rather than seeks, consensus. An internationally renowned entrepreneur, Kanya has – through her role as CEO, founder and visionary of the iconic MOBO platform – displayed the drive and ambition needed to help take urban music from the margins of British popular culture to the heart of the mainstream culture, not just in the UK but around the world.


Following her studies in English Literature at the renowned Goldsmiths College, London, Kanya took up a job as a TV researcher where she soon identified a gap in the market for a mainstream British awards ceremony celebrating music influenced and inspired by black music.

Since its inception in 1996, Kanya has built MOBO into a globally respected brand. With Kanya’s expert guidance, the MOBO organisation has established itself as a champion of diversity, inclusion and recognition for talent within music, culture, arts, fashion, media and larger society as a whole.

Kanya was recently presented with a CBE and has been acclaimed as one of UK’s Most Influential People. She’s hugely in-demand as a media figure and a go-to person for public speaking at community, educational and corporate events.


She has received a number of honorary Doctorates and Fellowships from universities across the country with more recently a Doctorate of Music from SOAS at their 100th graduation ceremony  – she was consequently invited to preside over the 101st ceremony in the absence of their President, Mrs. Graca Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela.


Early November 2018 she was presented with the Legacy Award at the inaugural Investing in Diversity Awards. 2019 will see her active in a number of areas to the benefit of both emerging talent and the wider creative and business communities.


Kanya's Top Tips 


  • Focus. People try to do too many things at once and then don't succeed. Do something well instead.
  • I like the quote from Winston Churchill, who said: "Never, never, never give up." Even if you go wrong, it's a lesson learned. I find that obstacles are feedback for reality. It's good to see them as opportunities that change the picture.
  • I also believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get.


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