'I Am Nobody's Nigger' - Poet Dean Atta Responds To Stephen Lawrence And Racism In Britain (VIDEO)

First Posted: 11/01/2012 15:25 Updated: 15/02/2012 17:34

26-year-old Dean Atta is one of the leading lights in London's poetry scene. His powerful reflections on race, identity and sexuality have won him recognition from BBC Radio, Channel 4 and the Tate Britain - not to mention a formidable reputation on the spoken word circuit.

But it's with his latest piece that Atta is beginning to attract a audience beyond the capital's poetry slams.

I Am Nobody's Nigger, performed here in an exclusive video interview with Huffington Post Culture, is primarily a response to the Stephen Lawrence murder case. But it also comes at a time when the issue of racism is bubbling up in several areas of British life, from politics to music to football.

In it he castigates those who use the term 'nigger' as though its a piece of toothless slang rather than a word with a potent and powerful role in the history of oppression. The poem - with its devastating final verse - is clocking up soundcloud and YouTube views at a rapid pace, and has been lauded by commentators from poetry, hip hop and even politics when it was praised by MP David Lammy on Twitter. Best of all, Dean says, it has prompted some rappers to get in touch with him to say they've given up using the word for good.

Watch the video above to hear Dean explain why he wrote the poem in his own words before performing it in full. You can read more about him and his work at his official website and follow him on Twitter. Warning: the poem contains strong language.

You can also hear some remixes of I Am Nobody's Nigger set to music on soundcloud.

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Filed by Sam Parker  |