The rapper’s call to fans yields 100,000 signatures needed to trigger parliamentary debate on the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire
By Thomas L Blair 25 February 2018 ©
Stormzy, the grime artist and winner of the Brit Awards has made history with his show-closing plea for the Grenfell peoples petition.
The rapper spat out the lyrics “Like yo Theresa May where’s the money for Grenfell?”
“What, you just thought we just forgot about Grenfell?” he angrily shouted.
Then Stormzy, 24, added “You criminals – and you got the cheek to call us savages?
“You should do some jail time you should pay some damages.
“We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”
THE LYRICS AND TWITTER EFFECTS
Each line in Stormzy’s litany of blame took you back to the charred wreckage of the Grenfell tower. To the vigils and marches of thousands of protestors. To the bereaved survivors demanding justice. Stormzy’s rap portrayed their angry cries for justice. All the hopes to share in the public inquiry.
Later, the grime and hip-hop star, 24, called on his more than one million Twitter followers to sign the Grenfell petition. It demanded that Mrs May use her powers to appoint additional panel members to the independent public inquiry.
Stormzy tweeted followers to “sign, share, RT(retweet) and spread the word”. Within a few hours of his tweet, the petition registered more than 100,000 signatures – the number required for the petition to be considered for debate by MPs.
STORMZY — SOUTH LONDON BOY DONE GOOD
This is a historic feat of political musicianship by a Black British rap star. It won him praise from a most unlikely source, the conservative-leaning newspaper, The Times.
“Stormzy whips up MPs’ debate on Grenfell Tower inquiry
The power of one man and his 1.2m-strong army of Twitter followers was proved this weekend when the grime artist Stormzy almost single-handedly helped to trigger a likely parliamentary debate on the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire”.
WHATS IN THE PETITION
The Grenfell people’s petition, which was previously delivered to Downing Street, calls for the Prime Minister to appoint additional panel members. With the same decision-making power they would sit alongside retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who is the chair of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. This is “fundamental” to “avoid a collapse of confidence in the inquiry’s ability to discover the truth” of the tragedy the petition states.
WHO STARTED THE PLEA FOR DIVERSITY IN THE INQUIRY
Inspired by the results of the grime star’s fierce Grenfell rap, petition organisers Adel Chaoui, Karim Mussilhy and Sandra Ruiz, who were bereaved in the tragedy, praised the move for a more diverse make-up to the inquiry panel.
In a joint statement, they said “This week the public have shown they’ve not forgotten about Grenfell.
“Just as they supported us in the immediate aftermath of the fire, when local and national government response was lacking, they’ve backed us again – and demanded the voices of the survivors and bereaved are heard.”
WHAT ELSE DOES THE PETITION SAY
Panel members “must be appointed with relevant background, expertise, experience and a real understanding of the issues facing those affected”, the petition adds.
The petition also calls for legal representatives of victims’ families to “see all evidence from the start” of the inquiry and be “allowed to question witnesses at the hearings”.
PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY, CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER AND HEAD OF THE GOVERNMENT HIT BACK
A spokesperson for the PM said that £58 million had been committed to the Grenfell community. Reporters were assured that Mrs May was “absolutely committed” to supporting Grenfell victims and set up inquiry not just to look at what happened but why “people were ignored for so many years”.
Furthermore, Theresa May’s spokesperson reportedly said “The PM has been very clear that Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened and should never be allowed to happen again.
“She’s determined that the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been ignored over so many years.”
Nevertheless, Stormzy has made a novel use of the Brit Awards stage and the social media to help shape the Grenfell inquiry. The landmark 100,000 signatures will take the petition to Parliament for debate. The struggle continues. BETTER MUST COME.
The BRIT Awards are the British Phonographic Industry’s annual pop music awards
Stormzy, born Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., is an outstanding, prize-winning Ghanaian grime and hip-hop artist of the diaspora. He supports Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who partly credits Stormzy for ensuring a big youth vote for him.
Finally, I encourage you to look at my series of Grenfell articles here on the Chronicleworld’s weblog, and welcome your serious comments.