Stormzy issues a call to action in the music industry after being named a diversity champion

Hot on the heels of the reveal of her “Mel Made Me Do It” music video, Stormzy proudly accepted the Diversity Champion award at the AIM Independent Music Awards on Sept. 28. The rapper has been recognized for the work he does through his charities Merky Foundation and Merky Books. And Stormzy used his pre-recorded acceptance speech as an opportunity to highlight the vast inequalities that still exist at the heart of the music industry.

“I encourage everyone in the room today not to use diversity as a buzzword, but for all of you, whatever position you are in, whatever role you play , to really be a driving force for it and not just see it as a quota or as a checkbox,” the 29-year-old said. “Really see the value and the value in diversity. Thank you to the AIM Awards and to God be the glory.

According to UK Music’s latest diversity report, the number of people from black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities is increasing, particularly among entry-level positions. At higher levels, however, these groups hold only one in five senior positions.

Meanwhile, Stormzy continues to make a difference with her service work. In June 2020 he set up the Merky Foundation and pledged £10m to charitable causes over the next decade. He currently supports the Black Heart Foundation, an organization that works to improve access to higher education for underrepresented children, and partners with the University of Cambridge to award £20,000 scholarships to black students .

The rapper also teamed up with publisher Penguin Random House UK in 2018 to launch his #Merky Books imprint. “We welcome bold voices from non-traditional spaces that are inclusive and intersectional,” reads the publisher’s website. “We exist to break down barriers in the publishing industry, and we bring books to life in an exciting way.”

So far, award-winning #Merky Books have landed Children’s Laureate Memoirs and Zeros and crosses author Malorie Blackman and Olympic champion Caster Semenya, and investing in emerging voices with the New Writers’ Prize.

Stormzy’s trophy, and all of the other trophies awarded by AIM on the night, bore the symbol of Autism Pride Day. “Neurodiversity is a topic close to AIM’s heart, with several neurodiverse members in the team, the wider community and our families,” said the organization’s CEO, Paul Pacifico, opening the evening. . “Music can and should to be a safe and nurturing environment for people who think and experience the world differently.”

Meanwhile, Stormzy also spoke at a recent protest following the death of Chris Kaba, an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Metropolitan Police on September 5. “Just keep going because the family needs you,” the musician told the crowd.

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