“EVERY GOVERNMENT has let black people down,” Stormzy has said in an interview with GQ magazine.
The grime artist, who has used his platform to criticise the Conservative government and prime minister Boris Johnson, as well as show support for the Labour party, said both of the main parties were at fault.
In the interview with journalist Gary Younge, the 26-year-old said: “Every government has let black people down, let working-class people down. Since when I’ve been young, whether it’s been a Labour government or a Tory government, not much has changed for the people who need it the most.”
Stormzy also reiterated his disdain for Boris Johnson. His song Vossi Bop features the lyrics, “Fuck the government and fuck Boris.”
He told GQ magazine: “[Boris Johnson] is literally not for man. He has made it clear in his vocabulary and in the stances he takes. I always feel, as a country, as a people, that we should always be trying to uplift one another. Give it a chance.”
He added: “We’re living in a time where people are scared, anxious or worried about their future and the future of the country, so those higher up are clearly manipulating that and playing on it, and playing on people’s fears and insecurities. It’s sadly a very divisive time and there’s evidently a long way to go.”
“They take one of us, like Idris Elba or Stormzy or Sterling: the one black guy per mainstream media per two years”
In the wide-ranging interview, Stormzy, whose real name is Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, also reflects on how a two-year stay in Leamington Spa to attend an engineering apprenticeship after he was expelled from school changed his life.
“That’s when I started to realise there was a whole world outside South London,” he said referring to a fellow student’s look of horror on discovering a scar on his face was the result of a stabbing.
The grime MC also commented on the British media’s treatment of black talent.
“They take one of us, like Idris Elba or Stormzy or Sterling: the one black guy per mainstream media per two years,” he said.
He opened up about how he wants to use his position of influence to help others achieve prominence and realise their dreams.
His dedication to doing so is evident through his publishing imprint #Merky Books and his Glastonbury set, which embraced and showcased various black British performers.
He said: “At the end of the day, it’s my headline slot. I’m good. I have this sick purpose. God said, ‘Yo, I’m going to bless you. I’m going to anoint you. And with that just f***ing lift and shine and elevate. Because man can and man should.’ And also, in a weird way, I’d feel guilty about going up there and going, ‘It’s all about man,’ because it’s not. Being this black and this dark and from South London, my people have always championed me. So it can never be just about man.”
Read the full interview here.