Rapper Lady Leshurr: ‘My letter from the Queen went to my junk mail’

The Birmingham performer, 34, on learning music at her youth club, the loveliness of Solihull, and how she nearly missed out on her British Empire Medal

As a black woman from Birmingham, I stood out like a sore thumb on the UK rap scene. Everyone in London would mimic my accent, laugh at me, troll me. I became determined to be my own self and unlock the door for Birmingham artists. People know about 0121 now.

Councils have failed us when it comes to youth clubs. I built myself at ours. I learned spoken word poetry, how to DJ and MC, play drums, mix and master. All the facilities were there. Now there’s nothing and it breaks my heart. Youth clubs take kids off the streets and away from social media, which can be toxic for mental health. There needs to be a place where the younger generation can let loose and feel safe.

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