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'Our white neighbours placed a burning cross in the front yard' - Gregory Porter tells his incredible life story

Multi-Grammy-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter suffered a childhood blighted by racism and the absence of a father. His mother raised him and seven other kids in poverty. Barry Egan flew to Paris to hear the Californian's inspirational story

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Life for jazz star Gregory Porter was harsh from the beginning and one of his earliest memories is being beaten up by neighbourhood bullies when he was just four years old on his way to kindergarten

Life for jazz star Gregory Porter was harsh from the beginning and one of his earliest memories is being beaten up by neighbourhood bullies when he was just four years old on his way to kindergarten

Pictured in Paris with Barry Egan

Pictured in Paris with Barry Egan

Gregory at the Grammys with wife Victoria

Gregory at the Grammys with wife Victoria

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Life for jazz star Gregory Porter was harsh from the beginning and one of his earliest memories is being beaten up by neighbourhood bullies when he was just four years old on his way to kindergarten

It is the most beautiful spring day in the City of Light, a week before the city went into lock-down. The sun is streaming in through the windows of the room in which multi-Grammy-winning singer Gregory Porter is sitting, looking out on the Pantheon in Paris's 5th arrondissement. "Isn't this the most wonderful day in France?" the 6ft 4in jazz giant - literally - smiles, beneath his trademark cap and black balaclava (which Porter has worn for a decade because of facial scarring; he wore it on the cover of GQ last year.)

What Porter then recounts from his youth in California is in stark contrast to the beauty of that day in Paris. He remembers being beaten up walking to kindergarten in Los Angeles when he was four years of age. Porter, whose father Rufus was absent for the entirety of his life, says that was "the cruelty of the neighbourhood we lived in, 36 & Normandie".


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