AJ Tracey has launched a new fund to help Black students at Oxford University.
The West London rapper has launched the AJ Tracey Fund in the hope of addressing “historic underrepresentation” at the university - the top institution of higher education in the UK.
Teaming up with St Peter’s College, the 28-year-old aims to attract students from underrepresented backgrounds, in order to offer financial assistance and mentorship opportunities. He will contribute £40,000 a year for the first three years, with the number to be reviewed thereafter.
In a new interview with the Guardian, Tracey spoke of the fund and how Stormzy was branded racist and "anti-white" by trolls following his first scholarship for Black students in 2018 (the latter launched 30 more scholarships for Black students at Cambridge University last year). “It’s crazy,” said Tracey. “At the end of the day, a large portion of the population is always going to have a very uneducated and misguided view on these kinds of happenings."
Tracey added: "Even if I were to say, ‘Yeah, I want to help every student, not just Black or ethnic students’, they’ll just say it’s a PR stunt... I think, in general, for anyone who doesn’t understand why Black people who have managed to become successful want to help Black kids, it should be self-explanatory. The whole country is catered towards white people and we’re just trying to level the playing field by helping Black kids.”
Having dropped out of studying criminology at London Met in order to pursue music, Tracey said that he "truly believed" that he "had the potential to go [to Oxford or Cambridge]." He added: "But it was just understood that if you’re from an impoverished upbringing or ethnic background it’s very hard to get in. Even if you’re intelligent, even if you know you can get those grades, it just feels out of reach. Unfortunately, the society that we live in, you know, it doesn’t favour people from a background like me. It’s not a sob story, it just is what it is.”
Last year, Tracey made his debut alongside Gorillaz on the US's Jimmy Fallon-presented The Tonight Show, where they performed their new collaboration 'Jimmy Jimmy'.