Stormzy proud of Marcus Rashford for standing his ground on campaigns

Stormzy said he is proud of Marcus Rashford for “standing his ground” on his food poverty campaign.

The 25-year-old England footballer has pushed for low-income families to be provided with free school meals outside term time and for the rate of Universal Credit to be raised, and has helped get book donations to under-privileged children.

Stormzy told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday that he would encourage Rashford to keep on with his campaigns as he knows from his own career how “tough” it can be standing up to pressure from people who do not want stars to take a stand on issues.

England Press Conference – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Al Wakrah Sports Club – Sunday November 27th
England footballer Marcus Rashford has pushed for low-income families to be provided with free school meals outside term time (Peter Byrne/PA)

The 29-year-old rapper previously created the Stormzy Scholarship for Black UK Students at the University of Cambridge, which covers tuition costs and maintenance grants.

He added: “I think, even for someone like Marcus, I’m sure he gets a lot of ‘Just shut up and kick your football’, and I’m proud of him for what he does – he stands his ground and does what he needs to do…

“He’s probably very confused (at the backlash)… and that’s happened to me a couple of times in my career, so I’m just proud of him. I (would just) encourage him to carry on.”

He praised Rashford for his role on Tuesday when England beat Wales to qualify for the last 16 in the World Cup, and said he was also happy with Ghana’s efforts.

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Stormzy also spoke about his third studio album, This Is What I Mean, which came out on Friday, and revealed that he used to feel a “bit tense” when promoting records.

He said: “This time I’m like, I’m just really proud… So there’s no pressure in that.”

He added that the new album has so “much feeling, freedom and soul” that it will “touch people in the heart”.

He said that making the record on the secluded Osea Island in Essex was a “beautiful experience”.

“I think what I managed to do was kind of create a culture with all the musicians of, like, no ego and just, like, let’s just make beautiful music, and let’s just throw ideas at each other, so, yeah… and then off the back of that we made this beautiful album.”

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The album is described as a “heartfelt” collection and explores personal topics including forgiving his absent father and his feelings of paranoia, depression and self-doubt.

It comes three years after his 2019 album and is already going head to head with Sir Cliff Richard’s new festive record for this week’s top spot in the Official Albums Chart.

Stormzy said: “(Sir Cliff’s) got a great Christmas song, that’s a legend.”

He added: “I can proudly say, like, not in terms of ego, arrogance… I know I’ve done something worthy of people.”

He also joked about wearing Crocs on BBC Breakfast, compared with slippers last time he was on the programme.

“(Last time) it was an accident; this time is intentional because I’ve got to be comfortable.”