Grime MC Stormzy has claimed that the scholarship scheme that he launched to help young black British students attend Cambridge was originally rejected by Oxford University. Now, Oxford University have responded to the claims with an official statement.
Stormzy made the claims yesterday evening (November 7) at the Barbican Centre whilst speaking at the launch of his new publishing imprint, #MerkyBooks. Earlier this year, Stormzy announced the launch of the imprint, in partnership with Penguin Random House saying “We will be using this as a platform for young writers to become published authors.”
Appearing alongside poet Benjamin Zephaniah, author Marjorie Blackman and rapper Akala at the launch event, Stormzy’s claims were tweeted about by journalist Dan Hancox. “Tonight at the Barbican Stormzy revealed that the much-discussed scholarship he’s finding at Cambridge Uni was first proposed to Oxford University, and they told him to get lost?! Incredible.”
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.
— Dan Hancox (@danhancox) November 7, 2018
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"
— Dan Hancox (@danhancox) November 8, 2018
A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “Oxford University is committed to widening access and participation for all students from under-represented backgrounds. We admire Stormzy’s commitment to inspire and support black students to succeed in higher education.
“We have not received or turned down any offer or proposal to fund undergraduate scholarships at Oxford. We have contacted to Stormzy’s representatives today to clarify we would welcome the opportunity to work together on inspiring students from African-Caribbean heritage to study at Oxford.”
The Stormzy Scholarship came after Cambridge faced extensive criticism for the lack of pupils from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
In 2017, only 58 black students were accepted onto undergraduate courses, while in June the university asked schools to help increase the amount of ethnic students. In June, the university asked for help from schools and parents to increase the number of black British students it enrols. It came after the Financial Times found that some Cambridge colleges didn’t take in any black students from 2012 to 2016.
The university says that it admitted 58 black students on to undergraduate courses in 2017. Last year, Stormzy also made headlines by donating £9,000 to a crowdfunding campaign for a fan to attend Harvard.
In order to apply for this year’s Stormzy Scholarship, all applicants must be of black ethnicity and received an offer to study at Cambridge. The application deadline is 30 August. The students receiving the scholarship will be selected from a list by a panel of Cambridge University staff.
Last week, Stormzy said he blamed his teacher for not getting into Cambridge. after a prank at school. Speaking on The Jonathan Ross Show, Stormzy said: “I wouldn’t say I decided not to [go to Cambridge]. Life, and the teacher who kicked me out of college, also probably decided as well.
“That was always the path that I was supposed to go on… I got kicked out [of school], not for anything crazy. It’s going to sound way crazier than it was: I put loads of chairs on another student. It sounds mad but we were messing around, it was horse play and I just put loads of chairs on the student so he was trapped.
”Enough to entrap the whole human body. It was a spontaneous attack actually. It was just some banter, as you do… It sounds crazy, but it was just jokes. It was like the hundredth strike, you don’t get kicked out for putting chairs on someone. I was just a little shit, I’ll admit it now.”
Stormzy also recently published his autobiography yesterday Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far, in which he documented the racism he’s had to deal with in his life and career.