In a short video feature in which the rapper was surprised a young fan by painting his bedroom in recognition of his positive behaviour at school, Stormzy said he wanted the movement to “show what it means to be black”.
Addressing criticisms of the protests and the response that “all lives matter”, he said: “If we weren’t oppressed, we wouldn’t be shouting, we would just be living our lives.”
He continued: “I want you to understand that we’re not just crying or just shouting, acting like only black lives matter: that this is a real pain. This ain’t some sort of trend. This is real life and this has been our reality for hundreds, thousands of years.”
He said he had attended the recent London Black Lives Matter protests but hadn’t spoken in public. “I don’t have answers,” he said. “We’re all just standing together and cheering.”
Stormzy was participating in a benefit organised by Good Guys Decorating, a social enterprise that dedicates a premium charge made by paying clients to providing free decorating for people in need.
In June, Stormzy announced that he would dedicate £10m over 10 years to black British causes,. He described it as “the beginning of a lifetime commitment”.
Announcing the plan, he said: “I am not the UK’s shining example of what supposedly happens when a black person works hard … Black people have been playing on an uneven field for far too long and this pledge is a continuation in the fight to finally try and even it.”
It follows his creation of a dedicated scholarship fund to send two black UK students to Cambridge every year. Derek Owusu, an author published by Stormzy’s #Merky Books imprint, recently won the Desmond Elliott prize for the year’s best debut novel.
Stormzy also explained why he had deleted his social media platforms in February. “I don’t need to consume that much,” he said. “I feel like you’ve got to protect the mental [health].”