Michael Gove has faced an online backlash after tweeting Stormzy lyrics, with some accusing the Cabinet minister of “sanctioning stereotypes” and others wondering whether it was possible to die of second-hand embarrassment.
Gove responded to the rapper’s support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by claiming the grime artist is “a far, far better rapper than he is a political analyst”.
It’s worth remembering Stormzy was hailed for wearing a stab vest painted with a monochrome Union Jack during his headline set at the 2019 festival.
When shadow education secretary Angela Rayner later tweeted “Michael Gove is crap at both”, Gove responded: “I set trends dem man copy.”
The tweet was a direct quote from Stormzy’s 2015 hit Shut Up, but received thousands of reactions, many of them negative.
And Conservative MEP and Brexiteer Daniel Hannan appeared to agree, tweeting in reply: “Big man ting!”
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has been inundated with replies urging him to stop.
Labour’s David Lammy accused the Tory minister of “sanctioning crass stereotypes” by “telling an intelligent, successful young black man to stay out of politics”.
The Tottenham MP added: “Challenge stereotypes, don’t compound them.”
Paul Bernal, an associate professor of law at the University of East Anglia, said: “This is the Twitter equivalent of blackface.”
Stormzy is one of a number of rap artists who have stated their backing for Corbyn at the general election.
In a post on Instagram encouraging fans to register to vote, last year’s Glastonbury headliner wrote: “I will be registering to vote and I will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn.
“There are several reasons as to why I’m voting for him – I would be here all day if I began to list them…but in my 26 years of life I have never trusted politicians or relied on them to be the bearers of hope and righteous people that we’ve needed them to be.”
Akala, Kano and Professor Green also voiced their support as a campaign by the group Grime 4 Corbyn went viral on social media.
In Tuesday’s interview with Talk Radio, Gove said: “I think we again know that Stormzy, when he took to the stage at Glastonbury wearing a stab vest, he made clear what his political views were then.
“He is a far, far better rapper than he is a political analyst.”
The Conservative Party has been contacted for a response to criticism of Gove’s tweet.