Born and raised in Brent, to a Greek Cypriot and Caribbean family, Dean Atta is now an award-winning poet, author of The Black Flamingo and has been listed as one of the 100 most influential LGBT people in the UK.
“In plays you’re performing other people’s words, and I had things I had to say for myself. So poetry was that space for me to write what I was feeling and thinking in my own words.”
In this Locked In episode, Dean speaks to Blueprint Collective Member Kamiah Chae about what it was like coming out at school, finding his school poetry during lockdown and how reflecting on his younger experiences is helping him to write the characters for his novels.
“I think when I was at school it was not so common, but I think now young people are coming out at school. Young people are coming out as gay, bisexual, even trans at school now. And schools are being much more supportive than they would have been when I was younger. So I think it’s a different time. And it’s a time when they have that space to explore their identity a bit more, in school and outside of school.”
How have Brent’s legends been coping during the ongoing pandemic, and what might it mean for their work and practice?
In this new video series, guest hosts from the Blueprint Collective catch up – in a socially distanced way, of course – with legendary musicians, artists, athletes and activists from across the borough to find out how they’ve been affected and perhaps even inspired by the COVID-19 crisis. Along the way, we dig deeper into our guests’ connections to Brent, discovering what they’ve been reading, watching, hearing and absorbing during this strange and frightening time – and hearing more about how they’re responding.
This forms part of Brent 2020 Unlocked.