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A compendium of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries // Drawn and researched by Michele Rosenthal

Labi  Siffre

Labi Siffre 1945to

British singer-songwriter, poet, and activist. He released a number of albums in the 70s, and had his first hit in 1971 with “It Must Be Love,” which charted even higher when it was later covered by Madness. In 1985, after a hiatus from music, he released his most successful single “(Something Inside) So Strong” in response to Apartheid and inspired by his experiences as a gay man. His song “I Got The…” provided the rhythm for Eminem’s 1999 hit “My Name Is,” although Siffre first refused Dr. Dre the sample until lyrics attacking women and gay people had been removed—what Siffre called “lazy songwriting.” (Later versions of the song reinstated the lyrics in question anyway.) More recently, Siffre’s “My Song” was sampled on Kanye West’s track “I Wonder.” Siffre has been openly gay throughout his career, and has never shied from addressing racism and homophobia in his work.

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