Kanya King

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Kanya King MBE (born in London) is the founder of the MOBO Awards.[1]


King was born to an Irish mother and a Ghanaian father, being the youngest of their nine children who survived.[citation needed] Her father died when she was 13.[citation needed] Aged 16 she gave birth to her son causing her to drop out of school.[2]


The first MOBO Awards took place in 1996 at London's Connaught Rooms, broadcast on Carlton Television. Since its inception in 1996, the it has become one of Europe’s biggest Music Award events.[citation needed]

In 1999 was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).[3]

Other awards include an honorary fellowship of Goldsmiths College, University of London, an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration at London Metropolitan University (2006) as well as a Doctorate from Leeds Metropolitan University (2008).[citation needed]

In 2011, she was named one of London’s Most Influential People by the London Evening Standard [1], one of Britain’s Most Entrepreneurial Women (Real Business) and one of Britain’s Most Influential Black People in 2010 [2] (Thomson Reuters/JP Morgan Power List). She was recognised by the music industry in 2016, being awarded the 'Media Pioneer' award at the Music Week Women In Music Awards [3].

In 2017, Kanya King spoke to Evening Standard about building the MOBO Awards brand from being a single mum at the age of 16 [4]. Kanya also spoke to NME about diversity and inclusion in creative industry [5] as well as Music Week about the 22nd MOBO Awards being the strongest yet [6].

King appeared alongside four multi-millionaire panel members in the ITV series Fortune - Million Pound Giveaway (2007), where members of the panel decide which "contestants" to award no-string grants, based on the merits of their pitch.[citation needed]

In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[4]

On 29 October 2015, King was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 60 in the list of 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs.[5][6]

Honorary Fellowship at Goldsmiths University and Doctorates of Business at both the London Metropolitan University and Leeds Metropolitan University. Honoured patron of Music at the City of Westminster College.[citation needed]

'Contribution to Music Award' granted by the Ghana Black Star Network Presented with the Ambassador Award at the 12th annual NatWest everywoman Awards Honorary Doctorate University of the Arts in recognition of commitment and success within the creative industries Honorary Doctorate of Laws University of Exeter Outstanding Achievements in the field of entrepreneurship Lifetime Achievement Award from the (IOEE) Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Honorary Doctor of Music, SOAS University of London


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