The Power of Poetry


The power of poetry makes it a real force to be reckoned with. Poetry can affect all generations, and make people consider anything from love to loss, indeed poetry does what little else can, it can inspire. The poet speaks to the reader intimately and exclusively giving you an insight into the inner workings of their minds, their ideas, their loves and hates. And if done well it can illuminate parts of life to the reader that had never been considered. And spoken word is no different, it is performance poetry that is rapidly growing in popularity. One of its most appealing qualities is that it can be performed in many ways varying from a soliloquy to rap. 

This project, entitled The Power of Poetry, delivers a series of films and interviews with some of the most prominent young poets of the day from Dean Atta to George the Poet. OBV has worked with these artists to explore the issue of racial inequality and injustice from a new perspective and incorporating other themes such as ethnicity, sexuality and, arguably most significantly, identity.


Bridget Minamore is a student and writer who has been performing her own spoken word poetry since 2009. She has worked with the National Theatre's New Writers' programme, had her work exhibited at TEDxLondon and has performed at venues including the Southbank Centre. Bridget has recently been shortlisted to be the first Young Poet Laureate for London, and is in her third year of an English degree at University College London. She is also head of creative arts and runs the Forum at Brainchild Festival.

Here is her poem, Breaking News

And see her interview here


Dean Atta is a writer and performance poet. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Atta won the 2012 London Poetry Award and was named as one of the most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday Pink List 2012. An ambassador for the Spirit of London Awards, he lives in London and teaches writing workshops across the UK.

Here is his poem, Young, Black and Gay

And see his interview here


From Southwest London, Deanna has been writing poetry since 2007 and has performed in a variety of venues across the UK, France and Germany, including Buckingham palace, 10 Downing Street, Dorchester Hotel, Queen Elizabeth Hall, RADA Theatre, BAC and Lyric Theatre, Soho Theatre, Roundhouse and various artists launch parties. She is the co-founder of the successful London and Brighton poetry nights: Chill-Pill and Come Rhyme With Me.

Here is her poem, Nowadays

And see her interview here


George has had many TV and YouTube hits, notably on the BBC - where he was the face of BBC Hackney Weekender ad campaign. He has also appeared on Channel 4, BBC Radio and Sky TV - featuring in their Formula 1 ad. Additionally, George has pushed his love of poetry into business, winning the Stake competition (organised by Barclays Bank and Channel 4) and being awarded £20,000 to set up poetry workshops for young people. He has also performed at venues such as the Elgar room at London's Royal Albert Hall and collaborated and performed alongside figures like Emelie Sande, Labrynth and opened for Nas.

Here is his poem, Lemonade

And see his interview here


At 17 Zena was the youngest member of Operation Black Vote's MP Shadowing Scheme, campaigning for a boycott of Israeli Settlement foodstuffs in Westminster as well as Deputy Member of Youth Parliament. Part of her extensive community work includes running poetry workshops, and she was shortlisted for the London Mayor's Young Person Peace Prize. Zena founded and co-ordinates Warwick University's biggest spoken word collective 'Shoot from the Lip' - running poetry slam nights and was awarded funding from the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund. Media credits include BBC Arabic and the BBC World Service and she created and produced Operation Black Vote's Power of Poetry project. 

Here is her poem, Where I'm From

And see her interview here

The project has been brought to you by Zena Agha and Alan Ssempebwa 

With special thanks to: Simon Woolley, Francine Fernandes, Rafiq Maricar, Marina Blake, Cholombian, Ivana Ojukwu and the OBV Interns. Your support has been invaluable.