The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Trigger warnings for colourism, racism and homophobia.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely adored this book. In this book, we follow Michael from the age of 6 until he is 18 through the ups and downs of learning who he truly is.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. There is so much that happens and it is written so beautifully.
Michael is from everywhere, his father is Jamaican and his mother is Greek/Cypriot and he lives in London, so where does Michael belong? I personally know the feeling of being from everywhere and not really belonging anywhere at the same time, so I could really relate to him that way. I wanted to step into the book and just tell him that it will be alright and that he’ll find his people.

Atta, really helped me see (as a straight white woman) the assumptions that are made about gay black people and black POC in general, and because I’m white and straight these things will never happen to me. I hate that it happens to others and I have never been able to understand how people can be so cruel.

There were a couple of times when Michael did something that made me so nervous for him because I thought people would be mean to him and he was putting himself in dangerous situations. I wanted to step into the book and just be a shield for him, but watching as he grew and was able to overcome these obstacles and just say ‘this is me’ and be accepted.

I love how this book challenges the ‘what makes a man a man’ statement. There is no one thing that makes a man a man nor what makes a woman a woman. Just let people wear what they want and be who they are.

I thought this was a fantastic book and really truly recommend this book to everyone.

8 thoughts on “The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta”

  1. This sounds like a really interesting read about sexuality and race- and I think it’s so great to learn about different points of view- how else will we ever understand what others go through on a daily basis? Thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen this book come up quite a lot and thought it looked amazing by the cover but didn’t really know much about it. Having read your review, I’m now even more excited to read it, this sounds like such a heartfelt but educational read. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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