Stormzy Declares “Black People Are Not Monolithic” As He Celebrates Five Years Of #MerkyBooks 


Stormzy discussed the power of literature and the importance of lifting Black voices during his impactful speech at the Hay Festival.

Stormzy opened up about exploring Black stories with his publishing imprint as #MerkyBooks celebrated its 5th year.  The London-based rapper was appearing at the renowned literary festival at Hay-on-Wye in Wales, U.K. to discuss his aim of developing and producing diverse storytellers.  

“With literature and writing music, both are about finding your voice… and the way you write,” he said. “When you’re young there’s a way you write in school, there’s a comma and… you put all these words in and all the fancy moves. But it’s not about that. It’s about telling a story.” 

He recalled a revelation while reading a particular book as a kid, which showed him “the whole smoke and mirrors of writing being Shakespearean, eloquent,” was a fallacy.  

“It’s not about that,” he added. “Your truth is enough. Your words are enough. Your voice is enough.”

Stormzy also addressed the importance of publishing multiple genres. He continued, “The reason I wanted all these various memoirs, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, is Black people are not monolithic, we are multi-faceted. Growing up where I was… people think, OK, you’re a young black boy that raps, that’s what you do. And it’s like, no. There are days when I’m really angry… days when I feel on top of the world… even with literature, we are multi-faceted.” 

Stormzy Shuffled His Schedule To Surpise Fans At Burna Boy Gig

Stormzy postponed his festival appearance from Saturday to Sunday (June 4) to accommodate his surprise performance at Burna Boy’s London Stadium gig. The gig marked the first time an African artist headlined a stadium in the U.K., and so the “African Giant” went all out. Dave, J-Hus and Popcaan all joined Burna Boy at the sold-out show.  Check out the clips below.

Nonetheless, despite the dazzling bright lights of his musical career, the rapper is looking to the future. Stormzy longs for the day he can look back and reflect on how many Black authors #MerkyBooks helped grow. 

“My actual dream is being 80 years old, no one cares about Stormzy anymore; he’s just chilling with his dogs, and I see someone and they say, ‘Yo, I’m a published author, I sold so many books on Merky… and it’s nothing to do with me,” he said. “It’s not a vanity thing. It’s just this engine that allows black authors to come and grow and thrive.”