Music

Stormzy Is Livid That NME Put Him On The Cover Of Their Mental Health Issue Without His Consent

“Why do you think it is kool to use my me as a poster boy for such a sensitive issue without permission?”

If English Twitter and Facebook seem very angry today, it’s probably because everyone is very mad at NME (or Noel Fielding hosting Great British Bake Off, one of the two).

NME — who put out a free magazine now, as a supplement to their online presence — released an issue today about mental health. In the issue, big names like Lady Gaga and grime artist Stormzy (who’s recent debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, was the first grime album to reach number one on the the UK Albums Chart) spoke in the issue about how they have dealt with mental health issues in the past.

Here is what the cover looks like:

The weird thing is, NME apparently didn’t ask Stormzy’s opinion before putting him on the cover of the magazine with ‘DEPRESSION’ written in bold below his face. The cover implies that Stormzy spoke to the magazine about his depression, when in fact it just used quotes from another interview.

As you can imagine, Stormzy was not to happy about this. “The reason I’m so angry is because NME have been begging me to be on their cover. I have refused,” he said on Twitter. “Then they do this … They see me talking bout my journey with depression and think yeah we’ve got him now.”

The issue here isn’t that Stormzy feels that he should be ashamed about talking about his struggles with depression in the past, but that his deliberate frankness about his own mental health be used in such a cynical way. If NME really didn’t ask Stormzy’s permission to be on the cover, this indicates that they are willing to promote the issue of mental health in a way that makes for a dramatic headline; not in a ‘actually protecting people’s mental health’ way.

“My issue is not about me speaking out about it. That is fine and I’m happy I’m able to help but they’ve been very foul here,” Stormzy continued. “I KNOW it will help others but just imagine a personal battle of yours being published on the front of a magazine without your permission.”

The editor of NME, Mike Williams, responded to Stormzy’s complaints on Twitter, arguing that his intentions were “positive” and that using Stormzy’s image meant that the issue would have a greater impact.

Stormzy did not take too kindly to the claim that as a free magazine, NME’s motives are more altruistic than financially-minded.

The internet seems pretty united in thinking who’s in the right in this Twitter beef.

If you’d like to talk about any issues with your mental health and options getting help, you can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.