Stormzy says he believes Britain is '100 per cent' a racist country
21 December 2019, 10:05 | Updated: 22 December 2019, 12:46
Grime star Stormzy has said he thinks “100 per cent” that Britain is a racist place, and that he believes that Prime Minister Boris Johnson “encourages hate.”
In an interview with an Italian newspaper La Repubblica he was asked if he thought Britain was a racist place.
The Labour-supporting rapper replied: “Definitely, 100%”
He said: “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.”
He described Boris Johnson as a “figurehead” who had emboldened people to make racist remarks in public with remarks he made in articles he had written.
Mr Johnson has faced criticism over remarks made in newspaper columns before he was Prime Minister. He has apologised and said the remarks should be viewed in the context in which they were made.
“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,” Stormzy said.
“Before, people had to hide their racism. If you felt something bad about 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 shit out of me.”
Stormzy, who is currently promoting an album, sparked a row this week after he appeared in front of a group of schoolchildren in a video where he described Mr Johnson as a “very, very bad man.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid posted online: "100% wrong. Britain is the most successful multiracial democracy in the world, and one of the most welcoming and tolerant.
"Of course more to do but also so much progress to be proud and optimistic about. Last week we elected our most diverse parliament ever with 1 in 10 MPs from an ethnic minority."
In February of this year, a study found that the UK was one of the least racist countries in Europe.
British levels of racism against immigrant workers and people ‘of a different race’ in general were found to be relatively low, as was bias against Hindus, Jews, Gipsies and Muslims.
The findings were published in the Frontiers in Sociology journal and the study was carried out by Professor Mariah Evans of the University of Nevada, Reno.
“Prejudice against immigrant workers or minority ethnic and religious groups is rare in the UK, perhaps even slightly rarer than in equivalently developed EU countries,” she said.