An inspirational message for music stars of the future was featured on The One Show on Friday night – and Aylesbury’s Multicultural Centre played a pivotal role.
Labi Siffre, who lives in Cuddington, became a patron of the Friarscroft Way centre, in a drive to unite the community during the 1980s.
And as part of a segment on the BBC primetime show, he revisited his old haunt and told how his biggest hit, Something Inside So Strong, was inspired by apartheid in South Africa, as well as his own life experiences.
He said: “The song is about apartheid but is also inspired by my life, in so far as I have occasionally wished the song had helped me as much as it has helped other people.”
He added: “I spent my early life being told that as a homosexual I was likely effeminate, probably a hairdresser and definitely a child molester.
“I had that all my growing up life, the problem is not homosexuals, it is homophobia.”
During the Aylesbury visit, which was filmed a few weeks ago, Labi was interviewed by Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews about the impact of the song, and his work with the Aylesbury centre.
Labi also spoke with young people who are using the centre’s recording studio, which was installed last year, and founder Dave McNichols MBE.
At the end of the visit he played songs for the assembled group including former mayor of Aylesbury Ranjula Takodra.
Annette Johnson, who is part of the centre’s management team, said; “He sang an acoustic version of Something Inside so strong, with some updated lyrics.
“He has a beautiful voice.
“Cerys did an interview with Labi and he had some very strong views which he shared with everyone, he is very passionate about not conforming to stereotypes.
“The crew were great too, at one point I was making everyone a cup of tea and Cerys Matthews popped into offer to help.”
Multicultural centre patrons and visitors will watch a full cut of the One Show video as part of the facilities’ annual general meeting this week.
The show is also available on iPlayer. To find out more about the centre visit www.multiculturalcentre.co.uk