THE BLOG

Singing for Stephen

01/05/2013 17:28 BST | Updated 01/07/2013 10:12 BST

Stephen Lawrence was a black British man from south east London, who was murdered while waiting for a bus one evening. I was only one year old when this happened and even though I lived in Manchester, it has still had a real impact on my life. The racially motivated attack and his death has influenced so many different areas of life and culture in the past 20 years - it has raised awareness, changed laws, reformed how the police think and work and more than anything, it highlighted that often ignorance isn't bliss. Far from it.

The murder of Stephen has left a lasting legacy in the UK as a whole. I recently found out that the Royal Institute of British Architects award a Stephen Lawrence Prize as his ambition was to become an architect and that a building is named after him at Greenwich Uni where he wanted to study before he died. His parents, Doreen and Neville, set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which looks to transform the lives of young people and achieve social change. They wanted to make sure that his tragic death was not in vain and to ensure that future generations would be able to enjoy opportunities that Stephen missed out on. They work with a lot of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds - it's a fantastic charity.

I was asked to attend the memorial service at St Martin in the Fields, a beautiful church in Trafalgar Square on 22nd April and I was so honoured to be a part of something so significant and so positive, despite how tragic the reason for gathering was. I was blown away by how they were able to make a positive out of such a negative situation. The service itself was very moving. It has given me some hope and courage that if you fight for justice, it will prevail - however long it takes.

I have been asked to sing at the Memorial concert in October, alongside the likes of Emeli Sande and Labrinth, as well as other big names to be announced. It will be such an amazing experience to share the stage with some incredible performers to honour his memory.

This was a huge tragedy for his family and affected the entire country. And it still has such significance today - and we need to make sure the positive power of Stephen's legacy lives on and that we continue to improve our society and support young people, especially in deprived areas. I grew up in Longsight/ Moss-side in Manchester and I saw lots of people struggle with their situations. This inspired me to want to do better and become better than my surroundings and stereotypes.

One thing I always saw was hope, and that's one thing that we can take from this horrible situation - the hope and the continual striving by his family to fight for justice.