5th time’s the charm! Derron Sandy has won his first Grand Slam title after five appearances in the finals of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS). The event was broadcast on Sunday night, and the winner was revealed live on the TTT NOW Morning show on Monday morning.
As thousands tuned in to the televised finals, as well as the livestream on Facebook and YouTube, poets and viewers alike saluted Sandy’s delivery of a piece entitled The Real Warlords, paying tribute to vendors and service providers who found ways to earn a living during lockdown restrictions.
Last year’s champion Alexandra Stewart, who made history by being the first poet to win two years consecutively, hoped to perform a hat-trick in 2021, but earned second place in this year’s Slam, with poet Michael Logie placing third.
Sandy took home first place prize of $50,000, one of the highest value awards for Spoken Word artists in the world. The second place comes with a prize of $20,000 and the third place earns $10,000.
The three top-scoring poets appeared on Monday’s TTT NOW Morning Show, where their places were officially announced by Jason Julien, Group Deputy CEO, Business Generation, at First Citizens, the long-standing sponsor of the Slam.
Julien, praising the poets’ performances, said that the spoken word poets’ words truly reflect who we are, and emphasised how honoured First Citizens is to continue to give these talented voices a platform on which to be heard.
In a fitting close to the 2021 National Slam, themed Poetry is Resilience, Sandy claimed his first Grand Slam and expressed immense gratitude for his long-awaited win, particularly at this time plagued with uncertainty. He shared his philosophy about the Slam and his hope that spoken word continues to develop by saying: “God will rebuild the city from ruins.”
Sandy, a spoken word poet and the artistic director of Cents Movement, started performing poetry in 2009 at UWE Speak when he went toe to toe with Muhammad Muwakil in a witty parody to one of Muwakil’s most popular poems. His talent was immediately recognised by then UWe Speak host Amilcar Sanatan. Sandy became a staple at UWe Speak and grew his career from riveting performances
A full time performer, he has been extending his art form into innovative solutions and provides creative direction (theatre and film), educational products, master classes and performances.
He has more than a decade of experience in workshop curricula design, coaching and evaluating spoken word performances.
Dennise Demming, on behalf of her fellow finals’ judges—Marge Blackman, Paul Keens-Douglas, Kwame Weekes and Whitney Husbands—remarked that all the 11 finalists’ performances were of a high standard.
Founder of the Bocas Lit Fest Marina Salandy-Brown congratulated all the poets, and Sandy in particular for his win.
She added: “We are very pleased that First Citizens recognises the transformative nature of this sort of self-expression and is committed to it, and are very grateful to TTT for putting so much creative effort into producing a wonderful show that matched the poetic talent on stage.”
This is the ninth year of the National Poetry Slam, managed by the Bocas Lit Fest, and sponsored by First Citizens, and is the first year with broadcast partner TTT. The 2021 Grand Slam can be viewed at www.bocaslitfest.com/youth/poetry-slam/ and www.youtube.com/c/TTTLiveOnline
2021 First Citizens National Poetry Slam Results
Grand Slam Champion
2nd – Alexandra Stewart
3rd – Michael Logie
4th – Abdul Majeed Abdal Karim
5th – Ronaldo Mohammed
6th – Zakiya Gill
7th – Terriq Betaudier
8th – Terryl Betaudier
9th – Shivana Sharma
10th – Renaldo Briggs
11th – Seth Sylvester