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'Let This Be a Constant Dark Stain on British Society'—Stormzy Remembers the Victims of Grenfell Tower

The artist delivered a heartfelt speech on the third anniversary of the tragedy, and has also pledged £10 million to Black causes over the next ten years.

Sunday, June 14 marked the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 mostly working class people of color in West London in 2017.

In remembrance of those lost, Grenfell United held a special memorial that featured words and tributes from various individuals and public figures including Adele, and star British-Ghanaian rapper Stormzy, who has remained outspoken about the government's lack of action since the tragedy occurred.


He delivered a heartfelt speech during the event, sharing a message of remembrance and support for victims. "To all the people of Grenfell, we're still mourning with you, so to anyone watching this let's use this time, let's use today to stand in solidarity with them and say that we ain't forgotten you. We love you, we're here for you," said the rapper.

"When the government and powers that be have turned their back on you, we're here," he added. "We're here, we've got you, we're not letting this go," he added. "It's become my duty – and everyone else's duty – to make sure we never forget this."

Earlier this month, the rapper pledged £10 million ($12.5m) to Black-British causes in light of global Black Lives Matter protests. 'We have to fight against the odds of a racist system stacked against us and designed for us to fail from before we are even born," said the artist. Stormzy has a proven track record of progressive social justice work. In 2018, he launched a scholarship program for Black students to attend Cambridge University, which led to a direct increase on the amount of Black students enrolled there.

The 2017 Grenfell tragedy highlighted racial and economic disparities in the UK, and government's neglect of people in public housing. Some survivors of the tragedy struggled to get housing afterwards. Rising British-Gambian photographer Khadija Saye was one of the victims. Feelings of anger and sadness around the Grenfell tragedy are especially heightened now as Black people continue to protest for equality globally.

Later in his speech, the rapper urged viewers to never forget the victims of the tragedy even if it seems like the world has moved on. "Let this be a constant reminder, let this be a constant dark stain on British society in terms of that many lives lost and the world kept moving. There's not been any justice. Let that be a constant reminder," said Stormzy.

Check out the full event, which streamed virtually on YouTube on Sunday below.

REMEMBER GRENFELL - A special memorial for the 3rd Year Anniversary youtu.be

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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