Dean Atta pens poetic tribute to Stephen Lawrence with “I Am Nobody’s Nigger”


Renowned writer, performer and poet Dean Atta took inspiration from the recent sentencing of Stephen Lawrence’s killers and penned entitled “I Am Nobody’s Nigger” as an ode to the murdered teenager, who was stabbed to death almost 19 years ago in a racist attack.

In this spoken word piece Atta expresses his feelings on the provocative word, used widely in hip hop culture and now looked upon by many as a socially acceptable term, despite being arguably the most racist word used throughout history.

“This was inspired by the tragic loss of Stephen Lawrence and the ceaseless self determination of his mother Doreen to seek justice and truth, but also speaks of my love/hate relationship with Hip Hop,” says Atta.

Listen to and read the poem below.

Dean Atta – “I Am Nobody’s Nigger”:

I Am Nobody’s Nigger

Rappers when you use the word “nigger” remember that’s one of the last words Stephen Lawrence heard, so don’t tell me it’s a reclaimed word.

I am nobody’s nigger
So please, let my ancestors rest in peace
Not turn in their graves in Jamaica plantations
Or the watery graves of the slave trade
Thrown overboard into middle passage
Just for insurance claims
They were chained up on a boat
As many as they could manage and stay afloat
Stripped of dignity and all hope
Awaiting their masters and European names
But the sick and the injured were dead weight to toss
And Lloyds of London would cover that cost.

I am nobody’s nigger
So you can tell Weezy and Drake
That they made a mistake
I am nobody’s nigger now
So you can tell Kanye and Jigga
I am not a nigger… in Paris
I’m not a nigger in London
I’m not a nigger in New York
I’m not a nigger in Kingston
I’m not a nigger in Accra
Or a nigger with attitude in Compton
Cos “I don’t wanna be called yo nigga”

How were you raised on Public Enemy
And still became your own worst enemy?
You killed Hip Hop and resurrected headless zombies
That can’t think for themselves or see where they’re going
Or quench the blood lust because there’s no blood flowing
In their hearts, just in the streets
They don’t give a damn as long as they eating
Their hearts ain’t beating, they’re cold as ice (bling)
Because they would put money over everything
Money over self respect or self esteem
Or empowering the youth to follow their dreams
Stacking paper cos it’s greater than love it seems
Call me “nigger” cos you’re scared of what “brother” means

To know that we share something unspeakable
To know that as high as we rise we are not seen as equal
To know that racism is institutional thinking
And that “nigger” is the last word you heard before a lynching.

Follow @DeanAtta.

Rest in power Stephen Lawrence.

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