Grime MC Stormzy speaks at the GQ awards on Tuesday night after the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, presented him with the best solo artist prize. In his acceptance speech, the rapper criticises Theresa May, calling the prime minister a ‘paigon’, slang for someone who is two-faced or a liar.
The epithet is popular among some black Londoners and generally used to describe untrustworthy individuals; Stormzy’s fellow Mercury prize nominee J Hus had an underground hit with the scornful Dem Boy Paigon, for example. The word confused some in the audience though, with the Telegraph quoting Stormzy as calling the prime minister a “pagan” and Alastair Campbell tweeting that he’d said “pig”. Campbell later apologised, saying it was “good to learn new words.”
Stormzy’s comments came after being handed the solo artist of the year award by Jeremy Corbyn, who said Stormzy “singlehandedly ushered in a new era in British music” and called him “an incredible and very powerful artist”. He added that he was “one of London’s most inspiring young men, encouraging his listeners to vote, to pray, and, very importantly, to speak openly about mental health and their issues and problems. Whether it’s speaking out against racism, supporting the victims of Grenfell, he’s remained absolutely true to his roots and committed to his values throughout.”
It’s not the first time Stormzy has used the word “paigon” – he referred to the NME as a “bunch of fucking paigons” after they put him on the cover of a depression-themed issue without consulting him. During his admiring tweets about ITV’s Love Island, he sympathised with eventual winner Kem, calling him his favourite contestant “even though he’s letting this paigon gyal run his head”.
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