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Top 30 Under 30: #27

Floyd Van Beek

Floyd Van Beek Credit: Courtesy of Floyd Van Beek/Jo B photo

“I want to share my thoughts with the world,” says spoken-word artist Floyd Van Beek.

“It relies equally on a balance of your performance and your writing,” the 18-year-old says, explaining the virtues of the art form. “I can communicate my own identity in a better way than merely writing something on a piece of paper and expecting people to see it.”

Van Beek, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun they, performed in this summer’s Queer Arts Festival in Vancouver, both at the opening-night gala and as part of the youth showcase, Fruit FlambĂ©.

The culmination of a six-week program where five queer youths were mentored by hip-hop artist Kinnie Starr, new-media artist Sammy Chien and playwright David Bloom, the showcase opened Van Beek’s eyes to the possibilities of collaboration. “By the end, it felt like we were a small community of queer artists.”

Van Beek believes that sharing art in queer spaces is a vital part of the success of the entire community, especially one that is constantly shifting, changing and learning.

“Within the queer community, there’s so many different kinds of people, and art, as such an intense form of expression, allows people to really think and feel through someone else’s eyes,” they say.

They first discovered their affinity for the written and spoken word as part of a club in their suburban Tsawwassen high school.

“I write really silly love poems, and I write poems about how if we could fart in front of one another we’d have world peace,” Van Beek says.

“But when I write poems, my identity, and my sexuality and my queerness — because being queer is such a huge part of my life right now — it does find its way into most of my art.”

The Top 30 Under 30 has begun! Join the discussion on our special Facebook event page dedicated to this project.

And check back tomorrow when we reveal #26 as Xtra celebrates BC's best and brightest young queer leaders.