Stormzy has claimed he originally approached Oxford University for help to launch a scholarship for black British students but was was rejected.
The grime star appeared with fellow rapper and author Akala, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and author Malorie Blackman to launch his new publishing imprint #MerkyBooks, appearing at the Barbican Centre in London on Wednesday night (07Nov18).
And journalist and author Dan Hancox, who attended the event, tweeted afterwards: “Tonight at the Barbican Stormzy revealed that the much-discussed scholarship he’s funding at Cambridge Uni was first proposed to Oxford University, and they told him to get lost?! Incredible.”
The Stormzy Scholarship will pay the tuition fees of two Cambridge University students. Both Oxford and Cambridge University has been criticised for failing to admit many pupils from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in recent years, with Cambridge failing to offer any places to black pupils from 2012 to 2016.
When a follower asked for more detail, Hancox responded: “basically no, no more detail than what it is in that tweet i’m afraid… ‘oxford said no may be more correct than ‘said get lost’. he said: “we tried oxford but they didn’t want to get involved… (laughter) so i’m throwing them under the bus now.”
The Stormzy Scholarship will provide a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course starting this year, and two more in 2019.
“It’s so important for black students, especially, to be aware that it can 100 per cent be an option to attend a university of this calibre,” the rapper said as he announced the scholarship in August. “We’re a minority, the playing ground isn’t level for us and it’s vital that all potential students are given the same opportunity.”
WENN has contacted Oxford University and Stormzy’s representative for comment.
Stormzy’s autobiography Rise Up is out on his #MerkyBooks imprint now.