Stormzy officially received his honorary degree from The University of Exeter on Tuesday (June 21), BBC News reports. The British rapper used his speech to express immense gratitude for the achievement, and also took time to give a nod to fellow graduates.
“The journey I took to get to this moment has been considerably different to yours. You guys have the guts and the grit and the dedication that it takes to study for years and to finish your degree whereas I got my AS results in my first year of college and said, ‘Yeah, see you later,'” said the 28-year-old emcee. “I didn’t have the same minerals that you guys have.”
He also addressed his mother in the heartfelt speech, noting that he was grateful to have her “sitting there beaming with pride and joy.” Stormzy shared that it was her biggest dream for him to attend college.
“Her biggest dream for me was for me to go to university and graduate and then become somebody so this moment is real full circle,” he continued. “And I always say that God has a funny way of bringing you exactly where you were meant to end up.”
Influential musician and social justice campaigner Michael Owuo Jr praised the “guts, grit and dedication” of students as we awarded him an honorary degree from today for his work to promote education and fighting racial inequality. #Stormzy https://t.co/k98P18477S pic.twitter.com/G71H0fzaEW
— University of Exeter (@UniofExeter) June 21, 2022
Stormzy, whose given name is Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., was also recognized by University of Exeter Vice Chancellor, Professor Lisa Roberts. “We are proud to honour Michael for his remarkable contribution to society and extraordinary talent,” she shared.
Additionally, she called him “an outstanding musician and wordsmith” who “inspires people to speak openly about their beliefs and fight for their rights.” Social justice is a key focus of the university’s new ten-year strategy and aims “to open doors to people from all walks of life into higher education.”
“It took a hell of a lot for you to get here today,” Stormzy expressed in his speech. “Your journeys to get to this moment were hard fought. The road you took was not easy. And this is coming from someone who tried to walk that exact road and failed.”