Entertainment & Arts

Stephen Lawrence concert line-up revealed

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Media captionEmeli Sande explains why she thinks Stephen Lawrence is an inspirational figure

Award-winning pop stars Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran will perform at a concert to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence,

Unity: a concert for Stephen Lawrence, will also feature performances from Plan B, Tinie Tempah and Jessie J.

The event, which aims to champion youth and social empowerment, will take place at London's O2 arena on 29 September.

Mr Lawrence was stabbed to death near a south London bus stop in 1993 in a racially-motivated attack.

Proceeds from the concert will go towards the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.


Speaking at the line-up announcement at Abbey Road Studios in London on Tuesday, Scottish singer Sande said she was "honoured" to be involved.

"It's such an important charity and the work (that) Doreen is doing, is fantastic. Doreen's story inspired me greatly. It shows if you stand strong you can made a difference and make a change.

"I was quite young when it happened but coming from a mixed-race family it was a big issue that we spoke about, and (we also spoke about) the issues you face being mixed race and this being something that happened in our country."

Other artists involved in the one-off concert include Rizzle Kicks, Labrinth, Jamie Cullum and Soul II Soul, with more special guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the event will go on sale on Friday 21 June.

Image caption Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was murdered

Mr Lawrence's mother Doreen, who set up the Trust to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, said their aim is to build hope for the future.

"Justice for Stephen is about all of us, every one of us, in society having justice," she said.

"I want young people to feel inspired, be confident and have hope in their own future. We work every day to empower youth and we're so proud that the music industry is joining us in reaching out to change the lives of young people."

She added that it was a dream come true to have so many artists involved and admitted it would be "very emotional" to see them on stage in September.

Making a difference

"Having so many young artists supporting the Trust in this way is getting the message across that we, as a society, need to make a difference," she said.

The concert is part of the SL20 campaign, set up by the Trust to mark the anniversary of Mr Lawrence's murder.

The initiative aims to highlight the legacy of the 18-year-old aspiring architect and the work undertaken by the charity in his name.

"I would like Stephen to be remembered as a young man who had a future," added Mrs Lawrence.

"He was well loved, and had he been given the chance to survive maybe he would have been the one to bridge the gap between black and white because he didn't distinguish between black or white. He saw people as people."

In January 2012, two men were convicted of the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury after a trial based on forensic evidence but there are other prime suspects still at large.

The original failed investigation into the murder led to the Metropolitan Police being branded as institutionally racist.

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