A year before I applied to study at Oxford University, Stormzy established a scholarship at Cambridge offering financial support to 19 Black UK undergraduates at the university. The cultural resonance of this scheme was seismic. To myself and many other Black young people, Stormzy put Oxbridge on the map, demystifying an institution that we viewed as fundamentally ‘not for us’.
Recently, rapper AJ Tracey followed in Stormzy’s footsteps and established ‘The AJ Tracey Fund’ at Oxford university. But as schemes emerge, so too is the conversation on who truly benefits from such programmes.
The AJ Tracey fund is primarily aimed at those already at Oxford; by donating a generous £40,000 per year, it reportedly seeks to “support the student experience of those from low-income backgrounds”. Speaking to The Guardian, Tracey explained the decision to name the fund after himself, hoping to inspire those who look up to him and there is no doubt that attaching the name of relevant Black artists to elite institutions like Oxbridge positively impacts Black youth who may otherwise feel alienated.