Stormzy has claimed he first approached Oxford University for help to launch a scholarship scheme for black British students but his idea was rejected.
The 25-year-old grime star – who topped the charts with his debut album ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ last year – has set up a scholarship programme in conjunction with the University of Cambridge to cover the fees for two black students this year and two next year to study at the revered institution.
Speaking at the launch of his new book ‘Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far’ at the Barbican Centre in London on Wednesday night (07.11.18), he said: “We tried Oxford but they didn’t want to get involved … so I’m throwing them under the bus now.”
However, the claim made by Stormzy – who appeared at the event with fellow rapper and author Akala, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and author Malorie Blackman – has been refuted by Oxford University with the institution claiming they had “not received or turned down any offer” regarding the undergraduate scholarships.
A statement said: “Oxford University is committed to widening access and participation for all students from under-represented backgrounds. We admire Stormzy’s commitment to inspire and support black students to succeed in higher education. We have not received or turned down any offer or proposal to fund undergraduate scholarships at Oxford. We have contacted Stormzy’s representatives today to clarify we would welcome the opportunity to work together on inspiring students from African-Caribbean heritage to study at Oxford.”
The ‘Blinded By Your Grace’ hitmaker wants to find the “genius and incredible minds” in the “badly behaved kids” and believes their journey should be documented.
As well as his scholarship programmer, Stormzy has also developed publishing imprint #Merky Books, in collaboration with Penguin Random House, to release books from BAME authors.
The schemes are part of the ‘Big For Your Boots’ hitmaker’s goal to help individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds and disadvantaged areas to progress in society.
He previously said: “With #MerkyBooks and the publishing imprint, I want to tell stories that I feel like not only the country but the world needs to hear. It almost sounds a bit humanitarian, world peace kind of speech but I feel like my story and my whole team’s story, I feel like that is something that should be documented.
“It’s a very short story so far, in terms of we’ve got a hell of a long way to go but I feel like the story of a young, black south Londoner like myself coming through and assembling this incredible team of so many incredible people and having the success so far, I think that’s important, I think it should be documented.”