stormzy drops 'ultralight beam' cover, reflects on the brits diversity scandal
Ahead of his much-anticipated debut album release this Friday, Stormzy spoke to Julie Adenuga about how far the awards have come since 2016’s #BritsSoWhite controversy.
Stormzy is in the running for the British Breakthrough Act award at the Brits on Wednesday, a year after he called out the awards ceremony for its lack of diversity and failure to reflect grime's breakthrough into the charts. The i-D cover star will release his hotly-anticipated debut album Gang Signs & Prayer on Friday, and he's been doing the promo rounds, chatting to Julie Adenuga on Beats 1.
Speaking about the #BritsSoWhite controversy, Stormzy says, "After the fuss I caused last year, I remember seeing the whole backlash of it and thinking, 'ok, I'm happy it's caused backlash, but I didn't want too much backlash.' It could've gone in a weird way of, 'ok, we haven't supported Grime and black music, so let's just go crazy and nominate everyone,' and I was thinking that's wrong if someone doesn't deserve an award. Last year, it was debatable. Last year I probably would have been eligible for best breakthrough, and I would have said cool, there might have been one or two people I felt like my weight could have stood next to. But if Little Mix need to win it because they've smashed it this year, they need to win it."
"After seeing the nominations come out this year, I feel like every single person they nominated, like Skepta being nominated for three, that's right, that's deserved, Kano being nominated, that's deserved, Craig David, it's all deserved," he continues. "I was on the flex of like, 'guys, that was wrong, you know that was wrong, I'm going to tell you off a bit, that was naughty,' and I'll put my hands up, I show a lot of respect to the BRITs for the way they handled the situation. They said 'that's fair enough,' they adjusted it, and I think everyone won."
To tide you over until the album drop on Friday, there's a new Stormzy cover of "Ultralight Beam" that the Merky one delivered on Clara Amfo's Radio 1 show. Check it out at 2:14:30, here on iPlayer.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch
Styling Max Clark