Culture

The six best things that happened at Stormzy’s Christmas party for the kids of Croydon

In a black Santa hat with light up reindeer ears, the MOBO award-winning grime artist laid on unlimited hot chocolate, a bouncy castle, raffle and some extra special guests for the kids' Christmas party of the season

Stormzy christmas

Stormzy made sure to personally meet every single child that attended the magical festive party Image: Alex Piper

They say never meet your superheroes but, for a few hundred of Croydon’s children who had made it onto the nice list, that wish came true this festive season when Stormzy held the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties in his home town.

The south London rapper’s first #MerkyChristmas was held at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, complete with famous guests, surprise performances, party games, a bouncy castle, colouring table, a raffle and prizes galore.

A Very Merky Christmas had been planned for 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic, making it even more special for the host to bring together his community, treating them to the night of their lives after a tough few years. 

“The reason why I do this is for the kids, for them to understand our community,” he told the families and children seated in the main hall. “All the parents in the room, you all have such important jobs, and to all the kids in the room – you all have such bright futures.

“I used to come to Fairfield Halls when I was in primary school, we’d sit on this stage and do performances. So I said every year, I want to do a day with all the families and all the kids where everyone can leave with good memories.”

Stormzy has spoken often of his struggles as a young Black man growing up in the south London borough, where around a third of children grow up in poverty.

Stormzy onstage at Fairfields Hall – the very stage he remembers performing on while at primary school – the space kindly donated for the evening Image: Alex Piper

But this was a night designed to inspire and delight, with Stormzy’s celebrity friends including footballer Ian Wright, rappers AJ Tracey and Wretch32, and radio DJ Julie Adenuga sat in the front row to get involved in the Christmas cheer throughout the night.

Split over two time slots, children aged four and above were invited to an activities packed party with Stormzy playing host, while kids aged ten and over joined in the early evening for a performance in the main hall. 

Unlimited hot chocolate, chicken nuggets and sweet treats were provided by McDonald’s, and Nando’s laid on a festive spread to make sure everyone filled their bellies.

Here’s what went down at the kids’ Christmas party to top all parties.

1. Stormzy played catchphrase with rapper Wretch32 – and lost

Rapper Wretch 32 took to the stage to play Catchphrase with Stormzy Image: Alex Piper

Taking to the stage, Stormzy faced off with Wrech32, real name Jermaine Sinclaire Scott, to play the classic party game of catchphrase where contestants watch a short clip to guess the famous phrase. 

While Stormzy was off to a slow start, the audience helped him out to guess ‘belly laugh’.

After the game Stormzy joined the seated crowd to enjoy the rest of the show, donning a black Santa hat and light up reindeer ears. 

2. Rapper ArrDee treated the crowd to a surprise performance

Rapper ArrDee performing Flowers (Say My name). Image Alex Piper

Brighton rapper ArrDee unexpectedly bounded onto the stage to perform his hit song Flowers (Say My Name).

The 19-year-old rapper – who wasn’t much older than many of the party guests – upped the tempo getting the audience on their feet and dancing.

3. Host Jordy Jordz pulled rapper AJ Tracey and radio DJ Julie Adenuga on stage to be team captains of the party games 

AJ Tracey gestures the to the audience calling for a round of applause for his team Image: Alex Piper

Comedian and content creator Jordy Jordz hosted the night, joking and riffing with the crowd, bringing children and adults on stage to join in the fun.

After selecting their teams from the audience, AJ Tracey and Julie Adenuga led their groups to compete in mini challenges, including which team could stand on one leg for the longest, and the fastest team to touch their toes. 

The tie-breaker challenge saw both teams running into the crowd to retrieve five hats each, and run back to the stage to present them to Jordy Jordz. Despite Team Julie undoubtedly returning with the most hats, Team AJ Tracey got back first, winning the crown. But everyone won a Kindle, because everyone’s a winner at a Merky Christmas.

4. There was a kids’ talent show and the winner won a recording session at Universal Studios

The party was Stormzy’s way of giving back to the area he grew up in, Croydon in South London, known for its CR9 postcode Image: Evie Breese, The Big Issue

Five young rappers and girls’ group Forever Girls went head to head to show off their skills, after signing up for the talent show in the queue. 

“I can’t believe the girls have got this opportunity, we’re so grateful. And I’m going to be their manager if they get famous,” proud mum Joanna told The Big Issue before the event. 

But Forever Girls’ rendition of Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex wasn’t to be the winner, with one amateur rapper receiving a standing ovation from Stormzy himself to snag the top prize of a recording session at Universal Studios. 

5. Illustrator Denzell Dankwah ran the colouring table with copies of Superheroes: Inspiring Stories Of Secret Strength for every child

Denzell Dankwah leading the colouring table where budding artists coloured in outlines of superheroes curated by Stormzy. Image: Evie Breese, The Big Issue

Denzell Dankwah, illustrator of Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength, helped children colour in outlines of Stormzy and other superheroes taken from the book published by #Merky Books. 

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The comic strip-style book, curated by Stormzy, is a celebratory collection of modern-day heroes including athlete Dina Asher-Smith, comedian Mo Gilligan, writer Candice Carty-Williams, Great British Bake Off star Liam Charles, and former footballer Ian Wright. 

“The book is to encourage young kids to go after what they want to do, to embrace their own superpower,” Dankwah told The Big Issue. 

To all aspiring artists and illustrators, Dankwah said: “Believe in yourself and carry on drawing.”

6. Temporary tattoos, face painting and bouncy castles made for the most wholesome Christmas fun imaginable

Party guest Rayyan, age five, showing off his new temporary tattoo of a spider that Stormzy called “the best in the world.” Image: Evie Breese, The Big Issue

Smaller children were entertained with giant inflatables including a bouncy castle, ball pit and slide, face painting, and henna tattoos in the earlier part of the day, as well Nando’s and McDonald’s party food. 

In one particularly heartwarming moment, Rayyan, age five, ran up to the 6 ft 5 Stormzy to show him his freshly applied Spider-Man henna tattoo. 

“He said ‘that’s the best tattoo in the world,’” a very proud Rayyan told The Big Issue. 

Rayyan also told the host he was sad he couldn’t drink the hot chocolate on offer due to a milk allergy, to which Stormzy walked out of the room, returning with some boxes of juice for his thirsty micro-fan. 

Christmas cheer to melt even the most grinchy of grinches!

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