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Toronto, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Toronto, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Spoken Word Hip Hop




"Cerebral Stimulation"

So, if help came as a poem, would you see the point?

a review by Donna Gagnon

Words. Use 'em, lose 'em, tell me what they make you see. Are ya dancin' yet? And how does it feel when I say `dung' and `sexy-assed' and `feeds the glucose'?

In "Cerebral Stimulation", a new book of poetry by A. Gregory Frankson (aka Ritallin), words are just the beginning. Black ink on white paper. What you have to do with this book is listen ... hear the feet tappin' on the stage, feel the rhythm of struggling to live and tryin' to make sense of what gets thrown at everyday people standing on the street or staring out their windows.

At the age of twelve, Greg was MC Tony G. in Scarborough, Ontario. He's been writing hip-hop lyrics for two decades. He performed in high school and university for community and school functions. Greg worked with some of the best in Canadian hip-hop, including Choclair, with whom he shared a stage for several years. After university, Greg became disenchanted with the direction of hip-hop music and turned to spoken word poetry, which gave him more flexibility to express his deeply-held political views.

Three years ago, Ritallin made his debut at an Ottawa spoken word event. Since then, he's been delivering powerful poetry in a lyrically appealing, widely accessible and unapologetically provocative manner in Canada.

And ya just have to sit up and listen when he writes about his pen, like:

i got to step correct on the approach

strong and silky smooth, court that

like them old school brothas you read about

in 11th grade English class where you're

checking that sister with the hair au natural

(from "My Pen")

In "A Child's Prayer", Ritallin hits hard and hits close about the uncle that was never really welcome:

it's cool when he gives me twenty bucks

or gives me toys, like Tonka trucks

but other times, when he stops by

for barbecues or to just say hi

we go downstairs and shut the door

and uncle Russ ain't cool no more

he asks to look, takes off my pants

and takes my hands, we start to dance

Ritallin's a drug. A. Gregory Frankson's a voice to be heard. Get yourself some. - Donna Gagnon

"Working with Spoken Word"

On Thursday 27 February 2013, Spoken Word artist Greg Frankson conducted a series of two poetry workshops for MGCI students as part of the Black History Month celebrations.

The workshops followed two very successful Spoken Word Poetry Cafe’s hosted by the Social Justice and Equity Committee. “I decided to opt for two workshops so that the skills and strategies could be passed on to a new generation and their unique talents and voices developed and nurtured,” said Mr. Alexander, the teacher organizing the workshops.

This is the second time Frankson (who goes by the stage name of Ritallin) has visited MGCI to conduct poetry workshops. “It’s really nice to be back,” he commented, “Here at MGCI I feel special roots like home.”

Frankson started off the event by performing one of his favourite poems called “Music Box.” Students appreciated the expressive spoken word poetry in many ways and it might also have touched some people personally. “He was an amazing spoken word performer,” commented Nicholas Vadivelu, a Grade 9 student, “His moving performance has inspired me to write more poetry.”

After listening to a brief lesson on the fundamentals of poetry and spoken word, students had the opportunity to write and present their own poems related to Black History Month. Frankson was very encouraging during the whole process, cheering and applauding each person as they went up to present.

Many students took away with them valuable knowledge applicable to their school courses. Along with the basics of poetry writing, students acquired the skill of working together as a team to form a group mass poem. “This greatly improved my teamwork skills,” said Lauren Chang, “I’m sure that my future projects will benefit from this experience.”

The MGCI Black History Month poetry workshops were a resounding success. To many students, it was a valuable learning experience that they would never forget. - Adela Lam (Marc Garneau CI, Toronto)

"CCAH: Another great example of a successful Prologue arts partnership!"

We just got these cool photos of Greg Frankson's recent visit to St. Bernadette School in Oakville. Once again, our own Greg has proven his knack for engaging the students.

What the pictures don't say is that this show was the result of Prologue's successful partnership with the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH).

When on a business visit in Halton's region last fall, Stephanie Filippi (our outreach and touring sales manager) met with the CCAH to find out about their current initiatives. As they were telling her about all the future projects, Stephanie saw that Greg Frankson could fulfill many of their needs.

He ended up hosting the launch of CCAH Black History Month on February 5th at the Town Hall in Oakville. He got included in the CCAH activities (hence his visit to St. Bernadette School). Prologue also sponsored Greg’s much appreciated presentation at the Milton Library on Saturday Feb. 15 (part of the CCAH programming).

One thing leads to another

Stephanie attended the event, and it gave her the opportunity to meet with the Milton programming services librarian and learn about this dynamic library's young writers poetry club Pizza and Prose (with a good potential for Greg's future bookings).

Marni Beal (wife of late Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander, the first black member of parliament) specially came to catch Greg's performance, invited by CCAH. She's a great supporter of the Book-in-a-Day Program.

CCAH has also applied for a grant to welcome Greg Frankson next season to work with a youth group which meets on Saturdays at Queen Elizabeth Park and Community Cultural Centre (Youth Centre).

As you can see, hooking up with the CCAH had quite a domino effect for one of Prologue's artists.

Don't you just love what all things work out like this? - Prologue to the Performing Arts


Still working on that hot first release.



Ritallin is best known as an award-winning, internationally recognized spoken word artist and poetic commentator. Less known is his background as a songwriter, vocalist and hip-hop performer. Greg Frankson’s socially conscious lyrics in his Poet Psychology project blend with reggae, ska, hip-hop, folk, R&B, jazz and African influences that energetically infuse the mind and spirit.