The year is 2019, and a young 6'4 South London rapper of Ghanaian descent who raps about God, the 'pagans' that run our country and confesses to singing his lungs out to Adele runs the countries music scene.
As a 6'4 black guy of 'caribbean' descent, if you asked me if that would have been a thing 15 years ago I would have laughed in your face. Having grown up seeing the disparity in African and Caribbean blackness as a young man in a mutli cultural city, it's truly something to see a merge of the two as opposed to one being 'cool' to be. Fast forward to now and the unity between not only 'blackness' but the general unity between the countries understanding of the grime and rap scene seems to be a hell of a lot closer.
So why did Glastonbury matter so much?
Well Stormzy headlined the Friday....which is just fucking unheard of! A black male British artist headlined possibly the most important festival in the world. That wasn't just iconic for the 16-25 year old black boys from South London but the 65 year old windrush generation that remember running away from racists in the same boroughs of south london, and all up and down the country not so long ago. It extends to the leftists and open minded liberals that dominate Glasto of course... but it struck something throughout Britain. It was wider than the usual fans of Grime. It ran deep through the nation, amongst fans you just did not expect, with a mumour of 'I don't normally like gangster rap, but wasnt that stormy great?!, I watched him on the box.
Well, yes Karen, he was....and let me tell you why.
1. He's Inclusive
Stormzy brought out Dave on stage to perform 'Funky Friday', the first all British rap number one in our history (just incase you were wondering). Taking the moment to bring out a peer in the music scene showed selflessness that we've lacked in the last few years. He isn't afraid of 'bringing guys in' whoever they may be, without a guarantee of ever getting any reward or comeback from it.
2. He's unafraid
Stormzy (Michael Omari) doesn't forget where he's come from and certainly has no plan of doing so any time soon. Jumping on stage at the Brits and Glastonbury, the man speaks openly about young black men across the country that are in a system that is biased and disproportionate. To be in a place of such power and such a distance to fall, it's easy to fall in place of where the record companies want you to. Ahhhhhh but he owns his own label, so he can say just what he likes, pulling his own strings. Just know what what Stormzy did at Glastonbury was not just music on a stage, but a booster for all young people around the country that feel like nothing is out there for them.
3. Sweet Like Chocolate
The guy is 6'4ft', built like a house and frowns a lot but somehow he seems to be one of the nicest guys in the game. The devout Christian who adores his mum is nothing but respectful.....to all of those that matter anyway. (Fuck Boris)
Isn't It funny how peoples perceptions are shaped based on the Media angle created?. If you said NWA were showing up at glastonbury, the media may not have received them as well as Stormz was. I digress....the guy doesn't take himself too seriously in a time that is very much.....serious, be it brexit or a global meltdown crisis. That's important and not to be scoffed at...a lack of ego makes him the perfect role model to appeal to a wider audience of young men who need role models that aren't the 'archetypal rapper'. The fact he's so honest and vulnerable makes him a magnet for young men who want to share their vulnerabilities too. As a figure mature well beyond his years, there is a certain balance to the man that means he'd go down well in the pub, or with your mothers....but that's your perception of him and I don't actually think he would care.
4. 'But so, we've had so many black artists before him that have done the same.....haven't we?
Not really, he is a new wave of artist; one that celebrates Ghana and celebrates Britain. One that gives his stage up for the 10 year old bike crews in his ends that have talent to showcase and invites followers of his twitter to join his music videos. An artist that hasn't tickled at the door waiting to be let in, but kicked it down with an army of like minded individuals behind him whilst he stands at the front of the Glasto stage and reels off every. single. name in his head that he recognises as an artist doin' bits. Artists before him have all been part of the wave that has allowed Stormzy to become to force he is, constantly citing Wiley as the godfather of the scene. Whats important isn't the fact Stormzy headlined glastonbury, what's important is the way in which he did it.
With BAME ballet dancers & crime statistics, Stormzy just announced popular sub culture on thee BIGGEST stage and showed that black culture is very much here to stay. The power this young man shows is not to take away from any other race, ethnicity or popular culture.....but adds another dimension to Britain which shows the true beauty in the melting pot of this nation.....
and we're here for it.