Blinded By Your Grace: Why Stormzy’s Glastonbury Performance Mattered So Much

From David Lammy to Dave this was a showcase of black excellence...

Overlooking a crowd of 135,000 people chanting your name and singing your songs back to you is a moment that would bring anyone to tears.

But all throughout, a stern but amazed face is what Stormzy had. Taking it all in, he declared that this was the most iconic moment in his life. A moment where he is accordingly recognised has a pioneer in Black British history, an inspiration to aspiring rappers across the country and an outstanding performer.

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The proceedings began with a conversation between Stormzy and Jay Z. The screen flickered in and out as Mr Shawn Carter gave words of encouragement to an attentive Stormzy describing that his upcoming performance was a part of the culture.

Entering the stage wearing a Banksy-designed stab vest, the historical set was opened with ‘Know Me From’. This entrance is nothing short of memorable. The reasoning behind Stormzy wearing a stab vest is yet to be confirmed but the discussion surrounding it has sparked numerous reasons.

A main one from rapper Snow667 is that it was a statement that young black men, successful or not are still eligible to attacks via the streets, the police or even the media. There’s also the statement that it was raising awareness regarding the surge in knife crime. Stormzy has left us in mystery as to why he wore it and having the vest designed by the secretive artist Banksy heightens the mystery even more.

With excerpts from a speech made by MP David Lammy regarding the environment that black British men live in, it was clear that Stormzy’s main focus for this performance was to exalt the black Brits as well inform the obtuse public about issues that affect them directly.

The show was also a history lesson. Whilst a dance solo from Ballet Black took place, the crowd was informed via screen that ballet and ballet attire restricted black people from taking part as the attire was purposely made for fairer skin tones. In 2019, this has now changed and there is ballet uniform made for all skin tones.

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Including a bike crew, another dance solo from the extremely talented Princess K, and a guest appearance from Chris Martin, the show was definitely about togetherness and uplifting a culture – something that Dave explicitly pointed out when he was brought out to perform 'Funky Friday' with Fredo. He thanked Stormzy for opening doors and inspiring other rappers such as himself that they can also be in his position one day.

Stormzy returned the favour by naming 65 current UK acts that paved the way for him and are destined for greatness including Wiley, Skepta, Little Simz, Jaykae, Aj Tracey and more.

Backed by a glorious choir for his new single ‘Crown’ and ‘Blinded By Your Grace Pt. 2’, Stormzy finished his set overwhelmed and in awe of what he just provided to the crowd and how it will be discussed for years to come.

A crucial moment in a time where racial tensions across the country are continuously fluctuating and the government is currently shambolic, Stormzy made his message clear: As much as you try to break someone and await their downfall through aggressive tabloid stories, correlation to knife crime and a constant target in the public eye, the positive support will always outweigh the negative that’ll allow you to do great things such as headlining Glastonbury.

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Words: Debbie Ijaduola // @debbiesthuglife

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