Desree is a spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in both London and Slough.
Having graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Drama Studies from De Montfort University, Desree is no stranger to the stage. An advocate for community arts and youth projects, Desree began a night called #OMN in 2014 in her hometown of Slough. It was started with the aim of giving individuals of all ages and skills, opportunities and essentially encouragement. It was at #OMN that Desree performed spoken word on stage for the first time.
Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, and an Ambassador for MQ; Mental Health Research Charity, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary, occasionally throwing in a f*ckboy poem.
In January 2018, Desree earned the honour of competing at the prestigious Hammer and Tongue national finals at the one and only Royal Albert Hall. Having missed out on first place with a 9.6 compared to the winner’s 9.7, Desree is proud to have represented women of colour as one of the only two in the competition, with her poems highlighting the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Black Girl Magic.
In 2019, Desree received the Highly Commended Out-Spoken Performance Prize. Judged by Kate Tempest, Mona Arshi, Momtaza Mehri, Yomi Ṣode and Madani Younis, and contained over 600 entries.
Desree has featured at events all over the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Bowery Poetry Club New York, Royal Albert Hall, Sofar Sounds, Sunday Assembly and Greenbelt Festival alongside World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker, Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi, award winning British poet and playwright Toby Campion and habitual slam winner Vanessa Kissuule. Desree has also supported rapper, poet, and political activist Akala, singer, songwriter and rapper, Lauryn Hill and author and radio broadcaster Lemn Sissay.
Desree has regularly appeared as a guest alongside Bridgitte Tetteh on BBC Radio Berkshire to discuss current affairs and had her work published in Spoken Word London Anti-Hate Anthology, Mindful Seasoning Magazine and broadcast on the television channel London Live.
Desree has delivered a TEDx talk at Bath University titled Poetry and Self-Esteem; Finding Truth with Words, and is also, a spoken word educator and facilitator. She uses her art to engage with young people and adults in schools, youth groups, offices and organisations – anywhere with people who have a story.
As part of EMPOWORD, Desree led a project titled 'Words on Windrush' supported by Arts Council England. Inspired by the Windrush Generation, 9 participants were given an oral history training workshop and went on to interview members of Slough's Windrush generation and immortalised their memories using poetry and prose. The anthology Words On Windrush was launched on Windrush Day (June 2019) and is available on www.empowordslough.org
Having been commissioned alongside two other spoken word artists, to develop and write a new show with Apples & Snakes, Desree, Laura Rae and The Slam Poet, toured the show CROWDED, across London as part of the SPINE Festival March 2019 with a nationwide tour set to begin in Autumn 2019.
Following the sell-out of Desree's debut collection I Find My Strength In Simple Things 2017, Desree paired with visual artist Siannon Saunders, to create her first zine Find Yourself A Place in 2019, as well as a few music based projects.
"Desree is a much-needed voice in poetry. The tenderness of her writing combined with the strength of her performance makes you want to go back and read her poems over and over again." - Harry Baker