Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, Scarborough native Randell Adjei, is a spoken word artist, speaker, arts practitioner and cultural curator.
He discovered his gift and love for poetry thanks to the support and inspiration from one of his Grade 8 teachers who introduced him to writing as a means for self-expression to deal with challenges he was facing. This unleashed his inner spirit and led him towards a path of personal enlightenment as a budding writer.
Randell attended high school in Scarborough, graduating as an Ontario Scholar and valedictorian for his class.
Shortly after his graduation, Randell was heading home one night when he was brutally attacked and robbed. The experience left him at an extreme low point in his life, but he slowly struggled back, refusing to let his battles defeat him. He turned this time of his life around, allowing it to help him build his personal mantra of resilience.
In 2012, out of inspiration for what he had gone through, Randell formed R.I.S.E. Edutainment (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) to provide youth with inclusive and safe platforms across the GTA to creatively express themselves through the performance arts. It became an important outlet for many who had endured negative situations in their lives.
The popularity of R.I.S.E. led to significant notoriety for Randell, leading to accolades that have included CBC’s Torontonian of the year in 2015, NOW Magazine’s May 2017 Local Hero, and The Black Canadians Awards Best Spoken Word Award winner in 2014. In 2018, R.I.S.E. was also awarded the Mayor’s Youth Award by Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto’s city-wide charity for the arts.
Randell has performed across the globe and in support of high profile figures such as President Barack Obama, Terry Crews, Paul Mooney, Kardinal Offishall and Toronto Mayor John Tory.