Stormzy’s AIM acceptance speech: “Don’t use diversity as a buzzword”

Stormzy politely calls for positive action during his AIM Awards acceptance speech: “Don’t use diversity as a buzzword.”

Established in 2011 by the Association of Independent Music (AIM), the annual ceremony celebrates independent record labels and artists for their efforts and works. The event honours the talents of the UK’s independents by granting awards such as Best Independent LabelBest Independent Artist and Most Played New Independent Artist.

Additionally, there is the Diversity Award. This year, it went to UK rapper, Stormzy. Why the Diversity Award, you may ask? Funny how trying to be inclusive can come across as exclusive. During his pre-recorded acceptance speech which was aired at the event, Stormzy used the opportunity to highlight the need for a tokenistic intervention, delivering a humble and poignant message to not “use diversity as a buzzword.”

stormzy AIM diversity award
Credit: Classic FM

The 29-year-old rapper was grateful for the award and was quite differential in his acceptance speech, saying: “A big thank you thanks to the Aim awards, for the diversity award,  I’m very grateful, I thank God for being recognized, there s alive and spirit among my team because we all share the same goals.”

He continued, “I encourage everyone in the room today to not just use diversity as a buzzword, but for you lot, whatever position you’re in, whatever role you play, to really be a driving factor for it and not just see it as a quota or as a box to tick. Really see the worth and the value in being diverse. Thank you to the AIM Awards and God be the glory.” Watch Stormzy give his acceptance speech here.

Winners at this year’s AIM Awards include Wetleg and The Nova Twins. Check out the full list of winners below.


  • Diversity ChampionStormzy 
  • Best Independent Album in association with SpotifyCleo Sol  – Mother (Forever Living Originals) 
  • Best Independent Track in association with MetaNova Twins – Antagonist (Marshall Records) 
  • UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube MusicWet Leg (Domino Recording Company) 
  • International Breakthrough in association with DeezerBlxst (Red Bull Records) 
  • Best Live PerformerMitski (Dead Oceans) 
  • Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC 6 MusicNilüfer Yanya – Painless (ATO Records) 
  • Innovator Award in association with Amazon MusicRina Sawayama 
  • Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with MerlinLethal Bizzle 
  • Special RecognitionThe Libertines (Rough Trade) 
  • Best Independent EP/MixtapeTAAHLIAH – Angelica (untitled (recs)) 
  • Best Independent Remix – Champion remix of Ibeyi – Lavender & Red Roses ft. Jorja Smith (XL Recordings) 
  • One To Watch in association with BBC IntroducingNia Archives (HIJINXX) 
  • Best Independent Video in association with VEVOJeshi – 3210 (Because Music) 
  • PPL Award for Most Played New Independent ArtistD.O.D (Axtone Records) 
  • Best Creative Campaign in association with AbleMaylee Todd – Maloo campaign from Stones Throw Records 
  • Best Independent LabelRough Trade Records 
  • Best Boutique LabelLocal Action 
  • Independent Champion in association with MCPS  – Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot of [PIAS] 
  • Music Entrepreneur Of The YearCorey Johnson – CEO & Founder of Defenders Ent.