Stormzy has gained notoriety by his presence on stage as a rapper, especially in the grime and R&B scenes. However, few people know that he is also actively fighting to tackle inequality and racial issueswith his #Merky Foundation.
His latest project? A children's book depicting 50 real life 'superheroes' such as British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge.
The book appropriately named Superheroes: Inspiring Stories of Secret Strength—illustrated by Denzell Dankwah—is set for release on 16 September.
Visibility of underrepresented communities
Stormzy has linked with Penguin Books to launch his publishing house. Gaining the support of such an influential house will surely mean the book should be widely distributed.
Stormzy had previously launched a 'new writer’s prize' with Penguin Books to help writers from all backgrounds get a chance at being published. Data gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center on books by and about Black, Indigenous and People of Colour published for children and teens shows that in 2020, a mere 8,33% of children’s books were written by black, African or African-American writers. Furthermore, only 28% of the children’s books were written by authors coming from minorities.
An homage to 50 important figures fighting for minorities
The protagonists of Stormzy's book are also shedding a light on new narratives of strength.
The superheroes illustrate a variety of communities, beauties and traditions, thus challenging the historical heritage of strength and power as being associated to Western societies.
The comic book also celebrates about 50 real-life heroes that made their impact on today’s world. To list a few, you will be reading about the likes of author Reni Eddo-Lodge, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, model Ikram Abdi Omar, comedian Mo Gilligan, Rachael Corson the co-founder of hair product company Afrocenchix, and many more. All of them are connected by the will to bring about more equality in a beautifully diverse society.