Randell Adjei is Ontario’s first Poet Laureate. Hailing from Scarborough, Randell is an author, spoken word artist, educator, community leader and entrepreneur. RISE Edutainment is a social enterprise which seeks to give opportunity to youth across the city.
In this conversation we discuss:
what exactly does a Poet Laureate do
who inspired Randell to take up poetry in the first place
graduating as his high school valedictorian after a less than stellar beginning
working with companies like Holt Renfrew
his involvement with the Scarborough Hospital Foundation’s Love, Scarborough initiative
My next guest was an early manager of Canadian hip hop legend, Maestro Fresh Wes.
He also spent a dozen years convincing the CRTC to give him and his partners a licence for Canada’s first urban radio station, FLOW 93.5.
He spent 6 seasons as a judge with Canadian Idol alongside one of my favourite rock voices, Sass Jordan.
Today he spends a lot of his time executing intercultural conflict management workshops and seminars as well as programs focused on community capacity building as well as youth and community engagement.
I remember it was in HomeEc class. The year and grade escapes me. But it was at JB Tyrrell Senior Public School in Scarborough. Wayne Cuffe was able to recite the full dialogue of the movie, Terminator.
Wayne also liked to make people laugh. But he wasn’t one of the cool kids. He was different. And I liked different. I still do. So when social media came around I naturally followed many old school mates including Wayne. He was always happy. But it felt real. He’s still into pop culture. His workouts even follow the style of his favourite superheroes. When he travels he shares stories of the people he meets and those that inspire him. And he always shares photos of his wife, Elizabeth. And GROOT. After more than twenty years we meet again.
My next guest, like yours truly, is a graduate of Scarborough’s Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute. He is a long time resident of Scarborough who has assisted in the creation of the Wexford Heights Business Improvement Area and the popular Taste of Lawrence Avenue East Festival.
Now in his fifth term at Toronto’s city hall, my next guest helped to create the first ever TTC transit strategy for Scarborough, was the first chair of Toronto’s Music Advisory Committee and has been the recipient of many awards.
Please welcome to the show, Councillor Michael Thompson.
My next guest is a fiction writer and educator. She has a PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto. Her debut novel, “The Wonderous Woo”, was shortlisted for the 2014 Toronto Book Award.
An award-winning author who has recently returned to the place where her most recent book, “That Time I Loved You”, is set: Scarborough. She can currently be found at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus as it’s Writer-In-Residence.
I’m excited to welcome to the show, Carrianne Leung.
Aparita Bhandari has covered arts and culture for many of Canada’s top newspaper and online publications: The Toronto Star, Saturday Night Magazine, The National Post, CBC, The Walrus and many others. She also co-hosts a popular Hindi-language podcast about Bollywood movies.
Today, Aparita uncovers important local stories here in Scarborough for the new media start-up company, The Discourse.
Today, she joins me in Toronto’s 100th library, the Scarborough Civic Centre Library. Please welcome to the show, Aparita Bhandari.
Shasha Nakhai is a filmmaker based out of Toronto with both Compy Films and Storyline Entertainment. Shasha’s award-winning films have screened at festivals and aired on TV worldwide, been released on iTunes, gone viral and been awarded Vimeo Staff Pick and Short of the Week.
Yesterday was the 25th birthday of The Barenaked Ladies’ first studio album, Gordon. Formed in 1988, a few years prior to the release of Gordon, The Barenaked Ladies formed in Scarborough with Ed Robertson, Steven Page, Andy Creeggan, Jim Creeggan, and Tyler Stewart.
In 1991, thanks to the massive success of the band’s independently released cassette The Yellow Tape, Barenaked Ladies won the “Discovery To Disc” contest hosted by a Toronto radio station. The Canadian quintet used the prize money to record Gordon with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda. Following its release on July 28, 1992, the Diamond certified album topped the Canadian charts for eight weeks. (AMAZON)