Three years ago, British rapper Stormzy set up a scholarship program that has allowed six Black students to attend the University of Cambridge so far. It was announced that England’s second-oldest institution and Stormzy’s charity, the #Merky Foundation, launched a new venture that will provide a scholarship of £20,000 per year for more students of color to attend its prestigious halls through 2024.
“For 30 more Black students to have the opportunity to study at Cambridge University – the same year our initial 2018 scholars graduate – feels like an incredible milestone,” Stormzy said in a statement. “Thank you to HSBC UK for their significant donation and, of course, Cambridge University for always backing our mission.”
Although the new initiative has yet to take effect, the prior Stormzy scholarships have proven successful for Cambridge, especially with a contribution in the rise of Black students who applied to the school without it. In fact, the surge has been given a name: the Stormzy effect. In 2019, for the first time in the university’s 812-year history, Black students made up over 3% of the college population.
Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the following: “Since the Stormzy Scholarships were announced in 2018, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Black students applying to study here and being admitted, and we are very proud to see the first two students supported by the scheme graduate this year.”
Peter Fashola, a member of the popular “Cambridge 14,” told the BBC in 2019, “People come to me, and they’re like ‘wow’ you went to Cambridge – not the place where prime ministers go, but the place Stormzy relates with,” and Fashola believes the world “needs more Stormzy’s.”
For his part, Stormzy sees these thirty new fellowships as the beginning of a movement and said, “I hope this scholarship continues to serve as a small reminder to young Black students that the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world is theirs for the taking.”