Adele, who is resting her voice after suffering from a haemorrhage in her vocal cords, won the prize for Best UK R’n’B/Soul Act.
Meanwhile, Jessie J dominated the awards, winning four of the five categories in which she was nominated.
She won Best UK Act, Best Newcomer, Best Song for Do it Like a Dude, and Best Album.
On picking up the award at Glasgow’s SECC for her debut album Who You Are, she said: “I watched this last year by myself in my living room and no-one knew who I was.”
The singer, who scored a number one hit with Price Tag, has had a meteoric rise to fame in the UK over the past year and has recently secured a judging role spot on the BBC’s talent show The Voice.
Other winners on the night, which recognises music of black origin, include Rihanna, reggae act Alborosie, jazz act Kairos 4tet and gospel act Triple O.
Tinie Tempah won the award for Best Hip Hop/Grime Act and Tincy Stryder and Dappy won the gong for Best Video for their track Spaceship.
Boyz II Men were given an Outstanding Contribution to Music award.
The evening also featured a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, who won Best UK Female at the MOBOs in 2007.
Amy’s 15-year-old goddaughter Dionne Bromfield led the tribute with Love is a Losing Game, which received a standing ovation.
“Amy made a huge impact on the music industry – we want to honour and celebrate this and the special tribute from Dionne is sure to be an emotional and moving experience for all involved,” MOBO chief executive and founder Kanya King said ahead of the awards.