British grime star Stormzy told the audience at an event for his new book the University of Oxford refused his offer of a scholarship for Black students, CNN reports.
The artist took his offer to Oxford’s chief rival, the University of Cambridge, as Blavity reported earlier this year, and is currently funding the education and expenses of two Black students there. He will reportedly do the same next year and will pay for the undergraduate degrees of all four students.
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I am very very very proud to announce the launch of my new scholarship “The Stormzy Scholarship” in partnership with Cambridge University. With this scholarship we will be funding and covering the full tuition and maintenance for 2 black students this year and 2 black students in 2019 to study at Cambridge University. We as a minority are still heavily under represented at the top universities and I pray this scholarship serves as a reminder that we are more than capable of studying at places of this caliber. Congratulations to all the A-Level students getting their results today, be proud of yourselves despite what you got and overstand that this is only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come! This is my proudest venture thus far and I look forward to seeing some young black geniuses go on to achieve at Cambridge via this scholarship. @cambridgeuniversity www.cam.ac.uk/stormzyscholarship for all info. Applications close on Thursday 30th August! #StormzyScholarship ❤️????????????????
According to The Guardian, Stormzy spilled this tea at an event at the Barbican in London where he was promoting his new book, Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far.
“We tried Oxford, but they didn’t want to get involved,” he said.
The rapper said he believes deeply in the importance of giving Black students a chance to excel at renowned institutions.
“If you’re academically brilliant don’t think because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest education institutions in the world isn’t possible,” he told BBC Breakfast earlier this year.
Those attending the event were reportedly surprised to hear Oxford turned down a chance to work with one of the U.K.'s fastest rising stars. That disbelief was echoed online:
Stormzy: Can I sponsor some Scholarships for Black students who get the grades for Oxford?
Oxford: Get Lost, Stormzy.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 8, 2018
Tonight at the Barbican Stormzy revealed that the much-discussed scholarship he's funding at Cambridge Uni was first proposed to Oxford University, and they told him to get lost?! Incredible.
— dan hancox (@danhancox) November 7, 2018
A spokesperson from Oxford has disputed Stormzy's claim. According to the university, Stormzy reached out but didn't say why.
"We have contacted Stormzy's representatives today to clarify we would welcome the opportunity to work together on inspiring students from African-Caribbean heritage to study at Oxford," the university tweeted.
We have not received or turned down a proposal for student support from Stormzy and have been speaking to his team this morning to establish what happened.
— Oxford University (@UniofOxford) November 8, 2018
"There was no developed proposal either to accept or decline, and we take responsibility for missing this opportunity," the spokesperson added.
Both Oxford and Cambridge have been criticized for not representing the country's cultural diversity in their student bodies. According to a separate CNN report, 10 out of Oxford's 32 colleges did not admit a single Black British student in 2015. For now, the Stormzy scholarship will remain at Cambridge.
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