Stormzy has been honoured with a degree from the University of Exeter (Picture WireImage)
Stormzy has paid tribute to his mother as he says he is ‘extremely blessed and grateful’ to receive an honorary degree from the University of Exeter.
The musician received the honorary degree in recognition of his ‘outstanding achievement in the field of higher education, philanthropy and widening participation.’
During his graduation speech on Tuesday, he said people should ‘always share and support, uplift and help in whatever capacity we are able.’
The 28-year-old grime superstar had his fellow graduates in peals of laughter when he joked: ‘I am going up in the world. I am a philanthropist now.’
In a sweet moment, he said he couldn’t finish his speech without giving a ‘shout-out’ to his mum, Abigail, who was sitting in the crowd.
‘It’s always been her biggest dream for me to go to university and graduate and then become somebody so this moment is a real full-circle one,’ he added.
The musician was honoured for his ‘outstanding’ contribution to higher education and philanthropy (Picture; WireImage)
Tuesday’s ceremony saw graduates who finished their degree in 2020 celebrating their achievements after the pandemic placed a stop on graduation ceremonies over the past two years.
The rapper admitted he felt ‘extremely blessed and grateful to be up here receiving this honorary degree,’ and paid tribute to his fellow graduates for ‘the guts, the grit and the determination’ needed to get through university.
He recalled how he tried several times to sit his A-levels but each time did not go through with it, remarking how it took ‘a hell of a lot’ for them to make it this far.
‘So, from the bottom of my heart I say congratulations, well done, you should all be so proud of yourselves, what you have achieved is incredible, don’t let anybody downplay it, don’t let anybody undermine it,’ he said.
‘If you’re sat in this room today, you’re worthy and you’re brilliant.’
The rapper’s foundation was set up to tackle racism and inequality (Picture: Getty)
Reflecting on getting an honorary degree for his philanthropy, Stormzy admitted he used to ‘reject the honours and applause that come with something I genuinely believe was just a part of my purpose,’ likening it to a friend going to the shop for sweets for everyone.
‘Of course it is a kind gesture, but it doesn’t deserve a song and a dance because that’s just what you do for your loved ones,’ he explained.
Paying tribute to his family, Stormzy said he has been ‘so richly blessed by God and I don’t just mean financially, I mean with love and life and family and joy, and with peace and with purpose, so, to put it simply, I bear the fruit and I share fruit and, without sounding too fantastical, that’s just what we’re meant to do in whatever way we can.’
Stormzy’s #Merky foundation has established multiple scholarships for Black students at the University of Cambridge (Picture: Getty Images)
Speaking to his fellow graduates, the chart-topper said that each of them have different destinies, but ‘we should always share and support, uplift and help in whatever capacity we are able to.
‘All of these different sizes and levels of being a helping hand are all beautiful and all of them are just as powerful as each other.’
The rapper, whose real name is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, set up the #Merky Foundation in 2020 and has gone on to pledge millions to tackle racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the UK.
Through the foundation, he began providing scholarships for Black students at the University of Cambridge in a bid to address the relatively low number of Black students who attend Oxbridge institutions.
Last year, a new philanthropic partnership between HSBC UK and the #Merky Foundation was set up to ensure a further 30 ‘Stormzy Scholars’ are funded over the next three years covering tuition fees and maintenance costs.
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