Kanya is an internationally recognised entrepreneur and innovator in the British music industry. She launched the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards in 1996. Under her leadership, the ceremony has grown from a niche awards ceremony in a small London venue to an internationally renowned event held in some of the UK’s biggest arenas.
The youngest of nine children, Kanya grew up in a crowded council flat in Kilburn, North London, but had the drive to succeed in the property and TV businesses before coming up with the creative blueprint for the MOBOs and securing a national TV slot.
Sixteen years on, the company is now a year-round operation; offering vital promotion for urban music via tours, its website and MOBO TV, while also giving training and guidance to the next generation of artists and producers. Stars from Beverley Knight to Emeli Sandé are among those to benefit from the MOBOs effect.
In 2009, Kanya took the bold step of taking the event out of its London heartland, with the MOBOs since proving a big hit in Glasgow and Liverpool.
She was awarded an MBE in 1999 and holds honorary degrees and fellowships from Goldsmiths College, London Metropolitan University and Leeds Metropolitan University.
She also serves as a consultant to the government on a number of issues and has been listed in Real Business Britain’s 100 Most Entrepreneurial Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 London Most Influential People for a number of years.