Skunk Anansie’s Skin calls for arts for all

The arts, especially music, should be available to all young people, says Brixton-born Skunk Anansie singer Skin.

As a result of funding cutbacks, many youth initiatives face a threat to their future sustainability and there has already been a reduction of youth programmes across Lambeth.

Singer, DJ and model, Skin recently visited three voluntary youth sector organisations in Lambeth: Young Lambeth Coop, Mosaic LGBT+ Youth Club and Raw Material.

Skin, born Deborah Anne Dyer, 50, is very supportive of the work that Raw Material and others are doing to address the needs of the youth population of Lambeth in an increasingly tightly funded climate.

She said: “It’s so great to see young people get together, get creative and express themselves.

“Music was a lifeline for me and it’d be great to see more support for creative activities for the youth of Brixton.

“I come back regularly, and you still can’t beat the avocados from Brixton Market!“

At Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre, she discussed the pros and cons of social media, the changing nature of popular music and the importance of the alternative scene in establishing a ‘queer’ identity.

Skin, who is bisexual, said: “It is a great place for young queer people of colour to meet others and get the support they need”.

One of the high points of the visit was her participation in Raw Material’s Youth Development Jam Session where anyone could pick up an instrument or mic to freestyle with one another.

Young Lambeth Coop Procurement Manager Tom Cunningham said: “That evening, it truly felt as if we had just attended one final exclusive sell-out gig in the heart of Brixton with Skin.”

She also spoke about the challenges of being a black female establishing herself in the rock scene.

“To this day, despite the number of black female lead rock band singers, there is still a lot of negativity, but that’s also why the band became successful because we were completely different.

“What saved us is when you go to places like Russia, it’s so weird for them to see someone like me and they love it!”

Young people interested in opportunities in the arts, music and media, should contact Raw Material or email Young Lambeth Coop at