Scarborough’s Randell Adjei named Ontario’s first Poet Laureate

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Scarborough’s Randell Adjei is Ontario’s first Poet Laureate.

Legislators of all parties passed a private member’s bill from Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MPP Percy Hatfield to appoint Adjei as the province’

The bill followed a move to memorialize The Tragically Hip frontman the late Gord Downie, who died in 2017.

“I welcome Randell Adjei as Ontario’s first Poet Laureate,” Hatfield said. “As Gord Downie wrote, ‘It’s been a long time running, and it’s a long time in coming, it’s well worth the wait’.”

In his new role, the renowned spoken word artist, poet, motivational speaker, and coach, Adjei will serve as a legislative officer in a two-year term. When public health restrictions are lifted, he will travel across the province to increase the profile and exposure of Ontario’s poets, participate in poetry readings, and organizing and administering educational workshops.

Adjei serves as executive and creative director of R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) Edutainment. It’s an organization that empowers BIPOC youth in the Greater Toronto Area to promote meaningful art in self-expression.

He’s an inspirational speaker, working in three major school boards in the GTA to incorporate a growth mindset and arts introspection into the school curriculum.

Adjei also served as lead consultant in the development of the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy in 2015, the same year he was nominated CBC’s Torontonian of the Year.

In 2017, he received NOW Magazine’s Local Hero Award, and in November 2018 he released his first book entitled I Am Not My Struggles, a collection of poetry highlighting the transformation of pain to power.

“Randell Adjei is a great communicator and will excite and motivate audiences in all corners of the province with his enthusiasm for the written and spoken word,” Hatfield said.

Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News