- 30 Nov 22
‘A Place for Us’ was written in remembrance of Aidan Moffitt, Michael Snee and Declan Flynn - but is also extended to all victims of homophobic hate crimes in Ireland.
Waterford spoken word artist, poet and writer Wayne Power has shared a powerful video in support of LGBTQ rights with 'A Place For Us', featuring music from 2Time Charlie.
The video was shot in September and directed by Cian Cusack. Shot in several prime locations in Waterford city such as the People's Park, the city centre and the historic Viking Triangle. The clip also includes Waterford drag star Queenn Marie alongside Aaron O’Brien and Woody Bennett
In 2019, the murders in Sligo of gay men Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee had shaken the nation's queer community. In response to the murders and the rise of homophobic attacks on the nations streets, he wrote ‘A Place For Us'.
"There's a place for us away from shadows and shame / To self-harm, and self loathing, goading and taunts / and the slurs scrawled on classroom desks / graffitied on walls and lockers," the poem begins. "There's a place for us away from the punches that rain down on after midnight streets, soundtracked by the cliched slurs as your vision blurs / but there's a place for us, a place that's ours."
The piece was first performed at a vigil for Moffitt and Snee and again at a Poetry Day Ireland event.
At the same event, Power had asked Wexford duo 2Time Charlie to add vocals and musical backing on the performance. The pairing of Luke Donnelly and Rian Carty duly obliged. The performance elicited such a strong reaction from the crowd, they decided to record it.
"I wrote the poem in March. The title was inspired by the song ‘Somewhere' from West Side Story," Wayne explains of the spark. "I remember watching Ariana DeBose accept an Oscar for her performance in the Spielberg remake, and at the end of the speech declared that she was a queer person of colour and that there was a place for us.
"It instantly stuck with me and I began writing the piece instantly," he adds. "When the Sligo murders happened, it frightened me. Because I use those apps, and I felt that it could have as easily happened to me as both of them. We’ve come so far as a community in this country. And it just showed that we can never take our safety for granted , even in 2022. But that we still have to live out loud and not in shadows like past generations. I wanted the piece to be a celebration and a all to arms.
"In a time where trans rights are questioned so casually and homophobia continues to snarl out in the open. I wanted to write for those who feel marginalised and isolated. That whatever dogma or prejudices still exist, we all have a place in this world."
Watch the uplifting visuals for 'A Place For Us' below.
Writing to his Instagram page, Power described how apt the timing of the video is following the shooting of queer people in Colorado Springs and the discourse over the OneLove armband in Qatar.
"I’ve found the last few days quite triggering I must admit. And I think this piece is an answer to all of that," he wrote. "Being gay has never been the be all and end all with me. It’s just like the freckles on my arms. It’s just a part of me. And to see some of the social media commentary has been very difficult and I knew myself I shouldn’t even give heed or scroll.
"But I will always pipe up. Even if I’m dismissed as ‘one note', “in your face ‘ or whatever cliched retort is usually used by those who it doesn’t affect. I can’t respect a culture that kills gay people nor less can I accept hatred because some book says you can tell me I shouldn’t exist. I’m bored with the use of religion and culture in justifying venomous hate. Where people are killed for being gay. Just like here in Ireland in April, in Sligo. I’m bored of the snarky ‘the gay agenda' taunts. I’ve always written openly with queer themes honestly and unapologetically. I’ve written about coming out, falling in love, lads I love, gay culture, trans rights.
"A lot of it will be in next years collection. Which is named after a Madonna lyric. How obvious of me. But those particular pieces will now be in a dedicated part of the book called The Gay Agenda," he concluded.
Power has been performing spoken word since 2019, having found a tribe in the city’s grassroots Modwords community. It was at the Modwords Festival where his first short play ‘Well Girl, Any News' was performed three years ago.
In 2020, Wayne Power released his acclaimed debut poetry collection Everyone’s A Star After Midnight with The Manuscript Publisher. Waterford’s nationally known playwright, Jim Nolan described it as "a collection that reminds me of the extraordinary potential of words to put shape on chaos."
In collaboration with the Summer In The City Festival, Wayne released two spoken word videos; the rallying ‘My Town' and the nostalgia drenched ‘Top of the ‘Town', which amassed over 20,000 views.
In March 2022, he released his second collection Neon Hearts and The Angry Mob, with The Manuscript Publisher.
'A Place For Us' is available on all streaming platforms, and can be downloaded on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to charity.
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- Film & TV
- 26 Sep 23