AJ Tracey launches fund to help support and mentor Black students at Oxford University
‘The whole country is catered towards white people and we’re just trying to level the playing field by helping Black kids’
AJ Tracey has created a fund to help support and mentor Black students at Oxford University.
The rapper is donating £40,000 over the next three years to help ethnic minority students through the process of applying and their time at Oxford University.
Speaking to The Guardian, Tracey said: “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.”
The fund wants to tackle “historic underrepresentation” at Oxford and will offer mentorship and financial assistance on a case-by-case basis to students. Financial assistance will include practical costs like train tickets or other costs which help to “support the student experience of those from low-income backgrounds”.
The West London rapper wants to make sure once students are at Oxford, they are also supported. “Being a minority in England is one thing, but then being a minority at your place of education is quite difficult,” he said. “Obviously, if they live in Oxford as well then they’re also a minority there. So just basically in every category, they’re a minority and that’s always going to be hard.”
AJ Tracey isn’t looking to set specific targets for success. “Success can be even as small as the current students saying their time [at Oxford] was a lost easier,” he said.
The AJ Tracey Fund is working alongside St Peter’s. According to Tracey, working with the college, which has welcomed black students since its inception 1929, was a “no brainer”.
“They specifically try to get people more of a mixed background, and they’re already working on that task. So for me, it felt like a no-brainer, if the train is already up and running, to help it go.
“I didn’t just walk in there and think, ‘Let me just randomly sling money at a random cause, you know.”
Head of the college, Judith Buchanan said: “[We are] delighted to have AJ Tracey in our world. With his generous support we look forward to seeing current and future talented Black students flourish in their time here.”