Stormzy has received an honorary degree from the University of Exeter.
The rapper, real name Michael Omari Owuo Jr., praised the “guts, grit and dedication” of students as he was awarded an honorary degree for his work to promote education and fight racial inequality on Tuesday.
In his speech to graduates, Stormzy said he felt “extremely blessed and grateful” to receive his honorary degree and joked about how pleased he was to be a philanthropist rather than just a musician.
Professor Lisa Roberts, University of Exeter Vice Chancellor, said, “We are proud to honor Michael for his remarkable contribution to society and extraordinary talent. He is an outstanding musician and wordsmith, and he inspires people to speak openly about their beliefs and fight for their rights.”
The rapper set up the #Merky Foundation in 2020 and has pledged millions to help tackle racial inequality. He has provided scholarships for Black students attending the University of Cambridge and set up his own publishing imprint.
During his graduation speech, Stormzy added, “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… We should always share and support, uplift and help in whatever capacity we are able to.”
The “Shut Up” hitmaker also gave a “shout-out” to his mum, who was sitting in the crowd, saying it was “always her biggest dream for me to go to university and graduate and then become somebody.”