From music to football, fame is being used as a driver for positive change. We profile three celebrities inspiring hope
This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond
His performance in the headline slot of Glastonbury festival in 2019 was labelled “historic” by music critics. But there is more to the grime artist from south London (real name: Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr), than his music. He launched #Merky Books as an imprint of Penguin Random House in 2018, to publish under-represented writers. Elsewhere, through the Stormzy Scholarship, he has pledged to fund tuition fees and living costs for two black students each year to study at the University of Cambridge. The support is worth £18,000 to each young person.
#56 Raheem Sterling
The young Manchester City and England footballer has been outspoken about racism in a way that most of his peers have shied away from. He is “the most important sportsperson in Britain right now”, says the BBC, while his social media posts calling out the different treatment of black and white players by UK newspapers have earned him the label of the unofficial spokesperson for racism in football. Sterling recently fronted a campaign to tackle racism in the Premier League, and at only 25 years old, there is likely to be plenty more to come from him.
“We deserve to feel good as hell!” bellowed Melissa Jefferson – aka Lizzo – from the stage at a music awards ceremony in August, clad in just a sunshine yellow bodysuit. Whether for her upbeat R&B or her unapologetic and infectious body confidence, Lizzo has collected legions of new fans, not to mention a slew of Grammy Award wins. She is a refreshing shift away from one-size-fits-all pop princesses that we are more used to seeing.