Page 8 - SAMPLE Great Britons
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   A famous grime artist and performer, Stormzy fights injustice, racism and inequality wherever he finds them, creating chances for people who need them while he tops the charts with his powerful music.
Apart from Stormzy, Michael has lots of other nicknames, including ‘Big Mike’, ‘The Problem’ and ‘Wicked Skengman’. ‘Big Mike’ isn’t all that surprising – he’s 1.96 metres tall!
On a summer day in 1993, a boy called Michael Ebanezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr was born in Croydon, South London.
His Ghanaian mum, Abigail, brought him up, taking him to church every week and working three jobs to make sure that Michael, his brother and two sisters always had food to eat. Thornton Heath, their part of Croydon, could be a dangerous place – people often got robbed or hurt – but Michael was happy there, though money was tight at home.
Michael loved school, especially English lessons, where he could write his own poems and stories. He was very competitive and read hundreds
of library books to earn prize badges! Although he didn’t know it, all that reading was helping develop his gift with words – a gift that would one day make Michael a great rapper and grime artist. As he got older, he was often quite naughty at school, but he still earned several top-grade GCSEs.
One of Michael’s favourite authors as a child was Malorie Blackman (page 18). He mentions her in his song “Superheroes”.
But Michael’s life wasn’t just about school and church. From the age of 11, he went to the local youth club, where he had rap battles with older teenagers.
Inspired by the grime music he heard in his neighbourhood, he began to freestyle,
improvising his own words over grime beats in his bedroom. Eventually, he started his
own YouTube channel, StormzyTV – and that’s when Michael Omari began to be known better as Stormzy.

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