It’s been a decade since Noel Gallagher turned his nose up at Jay-Z appearing at Glastonbury. Evidently, the middle class mud of Somerset was no place for the most influential rapper of his generation. But times have changed now. Next year, Stormzy will be headlining Glastonbury and without dispute, this selection is deserved.
From DIY videos in the park, Stormzy has risen to the top, becoming grime’s first headliner at Glastonbury. But this is not an example of the Croydon rapper receiving a hand out. He’s worked hard for this.
2016 saw him storming the sonic tent at Glastonbury; then the following year, he topped this with an electrifying performance of his debut album and this past summer, Stormzy headlined Wireless, showing that he is nothing to mess with when it comes to his stage show.
It’s not just his music that sets Stormzy apart. His humanitarian work is also admirable. Earlier this year, he revealed his partnership with Penguin to help young authors get published. He then followed this up by launching a scholarship with Cambridge for black students, who are extremely underrepresented within universities. As well as his own book, Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far, he will also be releasing a book written by two Cambridge students on his publishing imprint.
His business empire is constantly expanding, and the fact that he’s crashing the party at Glastonbury highlights that his vision stretches far wider than his humble beginnings in South London. What Stormzy has achieved for UK black music was in no way given, but in fact came from years of grafts from others in the scene. Noteworthy artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Boy Better Know have also performed at Glastonbury over the years, paving the way for Stormzy to take centre stage, as UK rap’s premiere candidate.
Now black boys from the hood can look to Stormzy as an example,
It’s taken a long time, but black excellence is finally starting to shine through and at a time when it’s most needed, with media coverage on black music tending to be in relation to crime, rather than its artistic prowess. But with positive figures like Stormzy, things are slowly changing. Now black boys from the hood can look to Stormzy as an example, to say, if you work hard at your craft then the sky is the limit. Stormzy took it from the streets of London to the stages of Glastonbury, so why can’t you?