Stormzy pledges £10m to anti-racism and black empowerment groups

11 June 2020, 15:54

Stormzy attended at least one of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London
Stormzy attended at least one of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Stormzy has promised to give £10 million to organisations and charities working to end racial discrimination; bring about judicial reform, and empower the black community.

The London-born grime artist, whose net worth is estimated around £20m, has said the cash will be donated over a ten-year period, and will mark his lifetime commitment to support anti-racism causes.

In a statement, the star said he had repeatedly heard people dismiss the idea of Britain being racist by using his success as an example - but pointed out that he was not the country's "shining example of what supposedly happens when a black person works hard".

"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," he said.

"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."

Stormzy said the sum would be donated over a ten-year period
Stormzy said the sum would be donated over a ten-year period. Picture: PA

The 26-year-old later said he would be releasing more details on the pledge with his label, #Merky, and encouraged others to follow suit.

His announcement comes just days after a weekend of Black Lives Matter demonstrations were held across the UK, inspired by similar protests in the US in the wake of the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer.

George Floyd died on a street in Minneapolis several weeks ago during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit note.

Now infamous video that went viral on social media showed the 46-year-old's final moments as he lay handcuffed and face down in the street with police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into his neck.

Despite Mr Floyd pleading with Chauvin and saying he couldn't breathe, the officer remained in place for several minutes, even after the former appeared to become unresponsive.

He never regained consciousness from the incident, and Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder.

Three other officers have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

In the weeks that followed, huge protests against police brutality and racism swept across the world, and revived fierce debate about discrimination in the US judicial system.

In the UK, conversation has also turned to how we memorialise iconic figures in British history that also had racist pasts.

This was started with a statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol being torn from its plinth and dumped in the nearby harbour on the weekend.

Other statues of figures with troubling histories have also now come under scrutiny.