‘He encourages hate’: Stormzy says Boris Johnson has fueled racism in UK

Grime star said prime minister getting away with past comments had emboldened people to be more overtly racist

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 20 December 2019 15:37
Stormzy addresses general election results

Stormzy has claimed Boris Johnson is responsible for emboldening people in the UK with racist views.

The grime star, who just released his new album Heavy is the Head, was interviewed by Italian newspaper La Repubblica when he addressed the issue of racism in Britain.

“It’s like, ‘Oh no, we’re not racist’. But there’s a lot of racism in the country,” he said. “The difficult thing with the UK is, as you said, in Italy it’s a clear problem, whereas trying to explain that Britain is a racist country [to a British person] is the most difficult thing ever. They think, ‘No, it’s not. Stormzy you’re successful. Look at London, there’s loads of black people...’ It’s a more difficult case to fight.”

He referred to Johnson as a “figurehead” who had made it more acceptable to say racist things: “If the top person can openly say this racist thing – the ‘piccaninnies’ remarks, ‘watermelon smiles’, comparing Muslim women to a letter box – if that is our figurehead, the top man, the leader we have to follow, and he openly says these things, he encourages hate among others,” he said.

“Before, people had to hide their racism,” he continued. “If you felt something bad about black people, about Muslims, you had to shut up. Now these people have the confidence to come out in public to say everything. This is scary to me, that scares the s**t out of me.”

Stormzy made an appearance last night (19 December) at Electric Ballroom in Camden, London with Harry Styles, who was celebrating the release of his album Fine Line. The pair performed Stormzy’s hit “Vossi Bop” together, and urged the audience to shout the lyrics: “F*** the government and f*** Boris.”

Heavy is the Head has received critical acclaim, with The Independent awarding it four stars and observing it contains “all of Stormzy’s best traits”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in