The Black Flamingo

Review From User :

who else did not know they needed this drag queen origin story

I first saw Dean Atta talk and read at a poetry event in Berlin. I had previously read his poem "How to come out as gay" in the queer anthology Proud (that you should definitely read cause it's perfect and super gay) and couldn't believe my luck when I found out that I would be able to see him perform live. The reading was fascinating and Dean's poetry touched me deeply. He has a way of stringing words together that just made me want to keep listening forever.

The Black Flamingo is a YA novel written in verse. It tells the story of Michael, a half Jamaican, half Greek-Cyprian boy growing up in the UK. From an early age, he is more interested in barbies and singing than is usually deemed acceptable by a society that strives on toxic masculinity, but his mother takes him as he is. As he gets older, Michael tries to find out who he is and where he fits in but he struggles - mainly because he is gay and mixed-race. Only at university, when he discovers the Drag Society, he finally feels seen, confident, and fierce. But between his childhood and his first drag performance on stage, he will go through heartbreak, dream of fame and cute boys, make and lose friends, and experience the bittersweet and exciting years of growing up.

The book is a celebration of youth and love, but most of all of blackness and queerness. It is a beautiful, light read that touches on quiet truths and deep emotions. Once or twice I got a bit teary and had goosebumps. Here is one short poem that I particularly liked, just to give you an example of what to expect:

Men are sandcastles made out of pebbles
and the bucket is patriarchy: if you remove it
we fear we won't be able to hold ourselves
together, we pour cement to fill the gaps
to make ourselves concrete constructions.

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Media Size : 16.6 MB