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Barbadian poet gaining global attention through social media

Akeem Stonedwithcupid Chandler-Prescod is relishing in the success of his poem Dot Com, which was released on February 14th, 2022, has amassed 280,000 views on popular social media site Tik Tok.

The poem in which he did a poetic cover of Usher’s song Dot Com which was a sultry poetry version was well received with 280,000 views, over 60,000 likes. The poem has since gone viral with persons sharing their interpretation of the poetic content on Instagram.

Speaking to the members of the media the former student of Combermere School said poems like Dot Com have been something he has been conceptualizing for the past two years.

“The poetry cover to Usher’s Dot Com is the result of something I have been doing for two years now which is finding a popular soul or R&B song and creating a poetic to it is an entry point for people who may find raw poetry difficult to consume. My previous attempt at this was Killing Me Softly which was originally written by Roberta Flack. That piece went on to get over 30k streams on Spotify and has a music video that is accessible on Youtube. Dot Com was created for valentines as the original song fits the romantic holiday well. I then packaged it in short form for Tik Tok as that is where a lot of younger people frequent,” he said.

The holder of a Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Entertainment Management with Honours from the Barbados Community College has also had success with his poems on Spotify.

“Spotify’s success was unexpected and was the result of trial and error. I have the advantage of being the producer of my own content and therefore I can upload when, where, and how I want. This leads to some playlist submissions being successful and thus the pieces being exposed to thousands of individuals. I also spend a gargantuan amount of time researching algorithm changes and market trends so I can better position my releases and to inform my distribution process. If poetry and the Stonedwithcupid brand are to survive it is imperative the poetic content is formatted and innovated to fit the existing platforms and the ones to come,” he said.

The recipient of the Spirt of The Nation 2021 Best Talent and Most Impactful Presentation said 2021 was an exceptional year for him as not only did he win Spirit of The Nation Talent show but he also placed in the top rankings in competitions in Barbados as well as regionally.

“In 2021 I won Spirit of the Nation Talent Show and was awarded Most Impactful for my poem If A Bullet Could Talk but I also placed in several competitions such as Vybzin Regional Youth Spoken Word Competition, UWI STAT’s Disaster Mitigation, and Climate Change Competition, and was a recipient of the CATAPULT Grant for the Caribbean Artist Showcase. The writing process for all of these entries was amazing. What was even more interesting was the way in which each of these poem was packaged as each of them received a different form of writing as each of these initiatives received a different form of poetry. CATAPULT required a 20-minute audio documentary-styled poem, Spirt of the Nation was musical poetry or more appropriately titled Hip-Hop Musical Theatre, and the other two were audio-visual productions. The process was long and tedious as I write, record, mix & master and shoot then edit the videos of these pieces,” he said.

Stonedwithcupid is also a former recipient of the Earl Warner Trophy for Excellence in Theatre and has received two Silver awards in the National Impendence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) for his pieces Boys Will Be Boys and Prize Fighter said that the creation of his poems are a never-ending process.

“To be completely honest none of my poems are ever truly finished. I know that may sound a bit shocking for you guys to hear but my poems generally begin with a thought and then that thought is expanded upon on a sensory level. I reflect upon what I want the poem to sound like, feel like, and what I want it to look like when it is finally presented whether it is on the page or the stage-then the writing reflects that. I always consider the full sensory experience and attempt to solicit an emotive response through poetic stimuli. This may be as simple as creating a dark sound by EQ frequencies out, adding minor melancholic chords with a sombre delivery paired with a desaturated desolated dimly lit visual. The piece must capture an emotion, a mood, a moment in time, it has to genuinely transport the listener and viewer to the world I see in my mind. This is further influenced by when I release it and where. A cold dark stormy night where everyone is indoors may be perfect for a certain piece, but a bright sunny summer Sunday afternoon may be ideal for another. StonedwithCupid has to be an experience,” he said.

The award-winning poet who is also the owner of Stonedwithcupidphotography which is a photography company that specializes in conceptual and surrealistic photography said that he would like to see further collaborations from Barbadian poets.

“I would like to see greater mobilization on the poets’ part to collaborate and a secondary effort on media producers to bring these poems to life so they can be consumed. Good poetry exists it is just a matter of finding it and accessing it easily on many platforms. We can’t continue to be a secluded, infrequent intellectual niche only visited on occasion by the general public. The tertiary want is for decision-makers and gatekeepers of distribution networks to identify the value that is present in our words, our language, our dialect, and our stories. Spoken word has the potential to be an identifiable international art form of Barbados. Our style cannot be replicated because our accent is too nuanced, and our experience is incredibly unique to us. There are endless possibilities with the art form both administratively and creatively,” he said.

But what has been his biggest moment as a poet?

Stonedwithcupid said it was travelling to South Africa in 2019 to be a part of the Vrystaat Kunstefees Art Festival.

“It is hard to identify a singular accomplishment to define as my biggest. Numerically the Tik Tok with 280,000 views on my StonedwithCupid page would be ranked in the top three. I have also had the luxury of traveling to South Africa and performing for two weeks in the Vrystaat Kunstefees ArtFestival. However, I think the biggest ones are the personal testimonies and tender moments of expression I have seen from fans and individuals who came across my work. It means a lot to know people connect with something you write especially when it is a personal piece. Early in my career, spoken word was a part of a self-planned treatment plan for my mental health, so it is remarkable to see some of those pieces, in turn, help others with theirs,” he said.

Stonedwithcupid said in the coming months he will be digitizing some of his older poems for public consumption on his social media platforms and he invites the members of the public to tune into his social media accounts Stonediwthcupid on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, Selecta Charts, Amazon Music and Twitter.

“In the coming months, I shall be digitizing my older works for public consumption on social media platforms. Most of these works are pre-pandemic and are pieces that may have only existed on stages once or twice. Apart from that I will be working on some new collaborative projects and exploring different forms of storytelling such as poetry on film and in motion. This will be done through my visual art brand @StonedwithCupidPhotography. I will also be assisting in the administration of poetic initiatives and events,” he said. (Write Right PR Services)

Write Right PR Services had the opportunity to sit down with Stonedwithcupid and discuss the writing process for the piece Dot Com.

Click the link below to watch the full video:

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