Artist in Focus: Stormzy

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Stormzy has become a national treasure and though his career has only just started he has already made history. His 2019 Glastonbury performance marked a historic moment for grime artists and people of colour across Britain, as he was the first black British male solo artist to headline the Pyramid Stage. This moment marks an important moment for music; finally, there was someone who was speaking the harsh realities of growing up black in Britain. His set was a celebration of black lives, and a key moment of the set was his discussion of knife crime and the disproportionate number of minorities within the criminal justice system, Stormzy made it known he is standing up for the unfair treatment of the justice system and the treatment of black Britons across the country. He is not only an amazing musician that gives hope to thousands of Britons, Stormzy’s songs speak the truth, especially in songs such as ‘Wicked Skengman Part 4’ which divulges into the stereotypes surrounding young black males, “Everybody calm down, it’s a tracksuit. What the fuck, man? I ain’t gonna stab you.” Stormzy is incredibly vocal on the issues towards minority men like himself, which is needed in this day and age due to the rise of knife crime and gang culture, which British society has associated with young black men. Stormzy completely destroys this stereotype, proving young minorities of all genders can be successful.

Grime is a genre that is incredibly popular within British culture and he is one of the individuals that brought grime to the mainstream, he had the first ever grime album at number one, proving Britain is willing to transform its culture. Stormzy works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and encourages more people to seek help – this is seen throughout his new album Heavy Is The Head, which goes deep into the issues of depression and anxiety. Even in his debut album this played a heavy theme; in ‘Lay Me Bare’ Stormzy outlines the pain of depression “Like man’a get low sometimes, so low sometimes, Airplane mode on my phone sometimes, Sitting in my house with tears in my face, can’t answer the door to my bro sometimes”. This display of self-isolation and depression gives strength to those listening, no matter how successful you may be, it is normal and okay to feel down sometimes. This is one way in which Stormzy reduces the stigma surrounding mental health.

Stormzy is a true  icon and is only in the beginning of his long career ahead. The music he produces and the way in which he motivates and represents minorities in Britain is the main reason he is a true legend. He brought grime to the forefront and made history at Glastonbury which Jeremy Corbyn proclaimed would “go down in our country’s cultural history”.

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A History student with a Britney Spears addiction.

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