Amidst the Black Lives Matter protests taking place worldwide, Stormzy has pledged £10 million over ten years to organisations fighting racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the UK.
His statement, issued through his company, #Merky, read:
“The uncomfortable truth that our country continuously fails to recognise and admit is that black people in the UK have been at a constant disadvantage in every aspect of life – simply due to the colour of our skin. I’m lucky enough to be in the position I’m in and I’ve heard people often dismiss the idea of racism existing in Britain by saying, ‘If the country’s so racist how have you become a success?!’ And I reject that with this: I am not the UK’s shining example of what supposedly happens when a black person works hard. There are millions of us. We are not far and few. We have to fight against the odds of a racist system stacked against us and designed for us to fail from before we are even born. Black people have been playing on an uneven field for far too long and this pledge is a continuation in the fight to finally try and even it.”
This pledge, currently trending on Twitter, has been welcomed by many:
Last weekend, he was pictured attending the Black Lives Matter protests in Parliament Square, London.
This is not the first pledge Stormzy has made towards aiding BME communities. In August 2018, he announced ‘The Stormzy Scholarship’, a financial support scheme designed for BME students attending the University of Cambridge, which, at 2% of the total intake in 2018, has notoriously low levels of black students admitted. This scheme covered the cost of tuition fees and maintenance grants for two students in 2018 and two students in 2019.
The rapper is known for his political activism. In December, Stormzy hit out at the UK media for “intentionally spinning” his words on racism in the UK. Questioned by Italian publication La Repubblica whether Britain was still racist, he stated: “definitely, 100%”. This statement was manipulated by companies such as ITV to “the UK is 100% racist”. The rapper has since deleted his social media channels.
Specific information on the charities Stormzy plans to donate to is yet to be released. This much is certain: this is how a platform should be used.
Words by Eleanor Noyce
11th June 2020.