Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Practivist of the Week - Dean Atta

Photo by Naomi Waddis

Practivist Questionnaire

How old are you, if you don’t mind?

I'm 26 and proud! I'm technically no longer a 'young person', I'm a man. I'm a man with a plan.

A lot of people think I'm younger than I am, I have a young energy and people think I'm in my late teens or early twenties, but if you do your homework or ask around or even Google me you'll see that I've been around for quite a while.

What is the main focus of your practivism at this time and how does that manifest?

I speak for change and I don't write without a reason.   I  produce events to raise awareness for a cause or to support a specific community.

Recently I was commissioned by The Damilola Taylor Trust to write a tribute poem to mark 10 years since his death.  I performed the piece  at the Spirit of London Awards. As the only poet in the line-up of artists including chart-toppers Labrinth, Alexandra Burke, Roll Deep and Daley, I am reaching mainstream audiences in big venues. It was great to be back at the Spirit of London Awards as a performer as I was there last year picking up the award for Achievement through the Arts

Earlier this year I produced an event called 'Gay Africa' to bring together artists and activists to discuss LGBT rights and equality in Africa, as well as the need for support from, and asylum in the UK.  Before the last General Election, I launched the  'Silence Is Not Golden' (SING) campaign to get more young people engaged with politics.  SING is an on going movement to give a voice to marginalized and disenfranchised people using music, poetry, drama, and lively debate. 

I'm a member of poetry collective Point Blank Poets (PBP) which includes the talents of Sabrina Mahfouz, Deanna Rodger, Chimene Suleyman, Bridget Minamore and others. Our first project was Rhymes Won't Wait,  funded by the Ideas Tap.  Since then, we have collaborated with charities and socially conscious organizations such as Fairtrade, TRAID, Object Against Female Objectification, English PEN and Love Music Hate Racism to help further the reach of their message. In 2011, we will represent the UK at the next International Young Artists Biennale in Morocco.

Next up, I will be launching a brand new project called Recycled Tunes, to educate young people about recycling and sustainability through recording music made from recyclable objects, and writing lyrics about sustainability to make credible tunes with a positive message. This project has already gained support from the BBC, Recycled for London, Sound Connections and Veolia waste management services, and has the potential to be a London-wide, Nationwide and International project.

What route did you take to get here?

I always follow my heart and my conscience and try to do things that will make my mum proud.

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