Stormzy says UK is 'definitely racist' and Boris Johnson has made it worse

Stormzy says racists have been emboldened

Stormzy says Britain is "definitely" racist and it has got worse since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

The grime artist made the comments in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica where he was asked if Britain was still racist.

He said: "Definitely, 100%. It's like: 'Oh no, we're not racist'. But there's a lot of racism in the country.

"The difficult thing with the UK is, as you said, in Italy it's a clear problem, whereas trying to explain that Britain is a racist country [to a British person] is the most difficult thing ever.

"They think: 'No, it's not. Stormzy you're successful. Look at London, there's loads of black people …' It's a more difficult case to fight."

Stormzy, who has just released his second album, Heavy is the Head, said the prime minister was a "figurehead" whose comments encourage racism.

He said: "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."

Since Mr Johnson entered Downing Street, racism in Britain was worse as people who hold racist views felt emboldened to express them, he said.

"Before, people had to hide their racism. If you felt something bad about black people, about Muslims, you had to shut up.

"Now these people have the confidence to come out in public to say everything. This is scary to me, that scares the s*** out of me."

Chancellor Sajid Javid had a pithy reply, saying on twitter that the rapper is "100% wrong".

Stormzy - real name Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo - said he would have to think carefully before accepting an MBE or OBE because of the British empire.

He said: "It's got a very dark history. You know, Britain colonised everywhere. It's something I'd look into and decide in case of."

Stormzy supported Labour in the recent general election and described Jeremy Corbyn, as the first man in a position of power who is "committed to giving power back to the people and helping those who need a helping hand from the government the most".

Downing Street has been asked to comment.