Stormzy urges music industry to “not just use diversity as a buzzword”

"[Don't] just see it as a quota or a box to tick"

Stormzy urged the music industry to “not just use diversity as a buzzword” during his acceptance speech at the AIM Awards last night (September 28).

The Croydon MC was named Diversity Champion at the event, owing to his efforts to “level the playing field” through his Merky Foundation and publishing imprint, #Merky Books.

In a pre-recorded video message, Stormzy offered his thanks to the AIM Awards and said that he was “really grateful” to receive the honour.


“I think we’ve just always led with love, and there’s a spirit among my team where we all share the same goals when it comes to having a platform and doing all the positive work that we do. So I think that’s what’s led us here.”

He continued: “I encourage everyone in the room today to not just use diversity as a buzzword. Whatever position you’re in… let that be a driving factor, and not just see it as a quota or a box to tick.”

Stormzy went on to call on music industry figures to “really see the worth and the value” of embracing a wide range of voices.

Back in 2020, a report by UK Music found that there had been an increase in minority ethnic employees in the industry (from 15.6 per cent to 22.3 per cent) since 2016. The female representation at the time was 49.6 per cent.

However, 86 per cent of Black musicians said there were barriers to progression in their careers in a survey conducted by Black Lives In Music last October.


Stormzy’s Merky Foundation has pledged £10million over 10 years to organisations and charities that are “committed to fighting for racial equality, justice reform and black empowerment within the UK”.

The artist previously donated £500,000 to fund further or higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Stormzy returned with a new single called ‘Mel Made Me Do It’ last week. The song is expected to feature on the star’s third studio album, which is due out at some point this year.

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