Stormzy urged the music industry to “not use diversity as a buzzword” during his acceptance speech at the AIM Awards last night (September 28).
The Croydon emcee was named Champion of Diversity at the event, for his efforts to “level the playing field” through his Merky Foundation and publishing arm, #Merky Books.
In a pre-recorded video message, Stormzy offered his thanks to the AIM Awards, saying he was “really grateful” to receive the honor.
“I think we’ve always led with love, and there’s a spirit among my team where we all have the same goals of having a platform and doing all the positive work that we do. So I think that’s what we did. brought here.”
He continued: “I encourage everyone here not to use diversity as a buzz word. Whatever your position is… let it be a driving factor, and don’t see it as a quota or a box to tick.
Stormzy went on to ask music industry figures to “really see the value and importance” of embracing a wide range of voices.
Back in 2020, a UK Music report found that the number of ethnic minority employees in the sector had increased (from 15.6% to 22.3%) since 2016. Female representation at the time was 49.6%.
However, 86% of black musicians said there were barriers to career advancement in a Black Lives In Music survey last October.
The Merky Stormzy Foundation has pledged £10m over 10 years to charities and organizations “committed to the fight for racial equality, justice reform and black empowerment in the UK”.
The artist previously gave £500,000 to fund higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Last week, Stormzy returned with a new single called “Mel Made Me Do It”. The song is expected to appear on the star’s third studio album, which will be released sometime this year.