Pin It
Stormzy #istandwithstormzy
Via Instagram @stormzy

#istandwithstormzy: thousands support Stormzy in racism misquote row

Stormzy says that he was taken out of context by the UK press, but the bottom line is: Britain has a racism problem

The hashtag #istandwithstormzy is trending in solidarity with Stormzy, after his words from a recent interview were taken out of context. 

Talking to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, when asked if Britain was a racist country, the rapper said, “definitely, 100 per cent”. He has now said that the UK media have been “intentionally spinning my words for some click bait”, by misreporting – or at least making it sound like – he claimed that Britain is 100 per cent racist, rather than he believes that racism 100 per cent exists in Britain. ITV has since apologised. 

“All you publications and media outlets that are intentionally spinning my words for some click bait can suck my dick and please don’t try beg it in the future”, Stormzy tweeted yesterday

The journalist who wrote the interview tweeted out the transcript. It read: “Me: Is Britain still racist today?” and then “Stormzy: ‘Definitely, 100%’”

Stormzy’s words may have been taken out of context, but part of the response to them does paint a depressing picture of a deeply racist Britain. 

After the initial interview with La Repubblica came out, Katie Hopkins responded to Stormzy to tell him to “quit crying racism” and calling him a “bellend”. Piers Morgan (yes, if Piers Morgan is calling you out for racism, you must have said something really fucking stupid and offensive) later responded to Hopkins, calling her a bellend and accusing her of race-baiting. 

Over the last two days, people have shown their support of Stormzy on social media, mostly by swapping out racism for other examples of things the rapper could have been talking about: 

But they’ve also been tweeting to say that, whatever his intention was, and whatever the percentage that Britain is racist, the bottom line is that Britain has a huge racism problem. 

As Stormzy put it in the interview: “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.”

“Just because British racism isn't as outwardly violent and overt as American racism, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist,” tweeted the blogger Stephanie Yeboah. “Britain invented racism.”

The more that we try to deny Britain’s racism, as many people are agreeing right now, the more we prove its existence.

Last night, former England footballer Gary Neville went on Sky Sports, and discussed racism in UK football in response to allegations of racist chants during a recent Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur match. 

He told viewers: “We’ve just had a general election in this country where both main parties and the leaders of both main parties are accused, constantly over the last month, of fuelling racism and accepting racism within their parties. We’re not talking about it at a micro level, we are talking about it at … the highest level in the country.”

Parliament and football are far from the only examples of how British culture is embedded with racism; the UK sees people continuing to reckon with the Windrush scandal, deal with increasing rates of hate crime on the streets since the vote to leave the EU, and the media continues to openly smear marginalised groups.