Stormzy Defends Black Britain's Role In The UK
(AllHipHop News) Stormzy is determined to use his fame to promote black British creatives as he's frustrated that they are often ignored by mainstream culture.
The grime star became the first black solo artist to perform at Britain's Glastonbury festival last year and used his gig to showcase other black creatives like then up-and-coming rapper Dave, and dance company Ballet Black.
Stormzy, who now has his literature imprint, says he's determined to promote writers and other artists, as the media spotlight often falls on one or two famous black figures like himself, rather than embracing truly diverse voices.
"We should never be under the water," he tells British GQ. "Black British is part of British culture. But they don't always get thrown to the forefront. We're a part of it, but we've been getting left out of the conversation. I make a point of it.
"There's this whole spectrum. There's me, (writer) Malorie Blackman, (athlete) Dina Asher-Smith, (soccer star) Raheem Sterling, (writer) Derek Owusu, there's Ballet Black. And they take one of us, like Idris Elba or Stormzy or Sterling: the one black guy per mainstream media per two years."
The star says he was determined to use his Glastonbury set to show there are many other young black Brits who are also deserving of mainstream success.
"It was my time to say, 'Yes, there's man. But there's bare of us, in bare different ways. You can't keep doing this. Yes, Stormzy's great and that person's great. But it's not an exception. There's bare of us,'" he says. "And I can't just come here and be like, 'It's just me.' I can't do it."
Explaining why he chose to share the spotlight, he adds: "Loads of black people tuned in, but I knew this would be a lot of white British people's first proper one-on-one experience with the art we do, our culture, our style.
"So it can't be the Stormzy show. It's like a whole lesson and presentation and display of everything Black British, South London, grime, rap, soul, R&B, garage. That's what it was: 'Hey, England. This is our art. This is it.'"