Dean Atta, Poetry and Poise

January 21, 2015 6:03 PM

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When Dean Atta first wrote his groundbreaking poem, "I am Nobody's Nigger", it sparked a much-needed debate about the use of the term whether it was in hip-hop songs or on the streets. Atta's thesis was succinct. The N-word had too much dirt under its nails, and was not in any way a positive affirmation of blackness as some cultural critics have argued over the years. The poem, which had a rigorous, anthemic quality quickly went viral and Dean Atta, a performance poet with a controlled, charismatic presence, had found his home within the digital afrosphere and beyond it.

"I feel like that poem wrote itself. It only took me half an hour to put it to paper and edit it. I had no idea at the time what a stir it would cause online or what a coup it would be for my career. At the time I was angry about racism in the UK but the poem came out as something a lot more univers...

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