Photo Credit: Anthony Gebrehiwot Randell Adjei recently made history after becoming Ontario’s first-ever Poet Laureate. When asked about his life after accepting the honour, Randell Adjei replied, “Way busier, more now than ever!” As of April 28th, 2021, with the approval of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Adjei added another notch to his already abundantly decorated belt. For his work as a spoken word artist and facilitator for young artists in Toronto, Randell Adjei has been given quite a few illustrious titles and accolades including Torontonian of the Year, Local Hero, and now, Poet Laureate of the province of Ontario.
“I’ve been in this business for at least two decades and one of the things I’ve seen in other communities is that filmmakers would often bring their children in and shepherd them into the work. You would look at a young director working and wonder about their backstory. Oftentimes it’s their parents who shepherd them into the work. They have them around the cameras and other technology while ‘talking shop’ around their kids. I saw the opportunity, now that I’m a father, to do something in collaboration with my kids and also show them the ropes.” -Ryan Singh
On Saturday, October 17th, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will host “The First Ladies of Soul,” a performance of classic Black Soul music by Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and many more sung by Canada’s own ‘Queen of Rock n Soul’, Shakura S’Aida. The drive-in theatre show — one of the first of its kind introduced in this period of pandemic induced social distancing — will be conducted by Daniel Bartholemew-Poyser, a highly celebrated conductor of Trinidadian and Jamaican descent.
Teaming up to give a moment of decompression during this season of global health and social justice crises, the legendary Jamaican comedic actor Oliver Samuels and Toronto’s beloved entertainment mogul Jay Martin have been busy preparing a wholesome treat for their combined audiences.
Whether you’ve heard the facts or felt the effects for yourself, it’s evident that change is on the horizon socially and economically for Black people.