Toni Blackman

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Toni Blackman
Background information
Also known asMiss Blackman
Virgo One
BornPittsburg, California, U.S.
OriginSan Francisco Bay Area, California
GenresHip hop, hip hop soul, global hip hop, spoken word
Occupation(s)Rapper, lyricist, MC, freestyle MC, songwriter, poet, educator, author
Years active1992–present
LabelsIndependent Ear

Toni Blackman[1] is an American rapper (specializing in freestyle hip-hop) and writer who was the first hip-hop ambassador to the U.S. State Department.[2] Additionally, she was selected as a 2006 Rhythm Road touring artist and subsequently served as on the selection committee for American Music Abroad (formerly Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rhythm Road) with American Voices.[2][3][4][5]

Life and career[edit]

The first Hip Hop Cultural Envoy to travel with the State Department, Blackman served in Senegal, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Botswana and Swaziland where she also delivered lectures on hip hop music and culture.[6] Toni has also travelled throughout Europe, Angola, Brazil, Canada and toured Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan) as a part of Jazz at Lincoln Center Rhythm Road Abroad program, working in the world's most war-torn countries to promote reconciliation and rehabilitation to those regions.[7]

Blackman was founding director of Freestyle Union, a cypher workshop which uses a freestyling as a tool to promote social responsibility, was awarded, two prestigious fellowships. Blackman served as a fellow with the Echoing Green Foundation and as a fellow with the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) through which she launched Rhyme Like A Girl formerly known as ADI. A hip hop theatre pioneer, she founded the now-defunct Hip Hop Arts Movement (HHAM) while at Howard University in 1992. She has featured in the Hip Hop Theater Festival and she co-authored Hip Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown with Psalmayene 24 as an ACT-Co presentation at ARENA Stage in Washington, DC. She is also a member of the Spoken Word Committee of the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy.[6]

Blackman has performed alongside Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Guru, The Roots, Wu Tang, the Lilith Fair, Def Poetry.[4] She performed in a host of venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at Lincoln Center in New York.

In 2009, Blackman spoke at the Pio Manzu International Conference in Rimini, Italy, and in 2010 facilitated a groundbreaking artist residency at Jefferson Arts Center with girls from Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, and the United States. She also spoke at Harvard University as a part of Bakari Kitwana's Rap Sessions Series collaborated on and performed a song along with Azerbaijani rap group Dayirman, dedicated to victims of Khojaly massacre[8][9]

An interview with Blackman is featured in a scholarly article about girls and "bad bitches" in hip-hop online video culture written by ethnomusicologist and social media scholar Kyra Gaunt in the Journal of Popular Music Studies (2015).[10]


  1. Walking Through The Fear Feat Zo And Toni Blackman[11]
  2. Walking Through The Fear – GUIDED MEDITATION[11]
  3. Walking Through The Fear – AFFIRMATION MEDITATION[11]
  4. The F Word – a Hip Hop Meditation on Forgiveness – Toni Blackman[11]


  1. ^ "powerhouse books announcement". Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Freestyle Cipher Workshop w/ Toni Blackman | Jefferson Center". Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  3. ^ "MC & Host Toni Blackman". Archived from the original on September 9, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "US Department of State. Toni Blackman: First Hip-Hop Envoy". Archived from the original on March 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "Toni Blackman: Rap Lyricist, Vocalist and Writer".
  6. ^ a b "Toni Blackman. About". Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  7. ^ "Toni Blackman".
  8. ^ "Azerbaijan presented a clip dedicated to Khojaly Genocide". February 24, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "US singer Toni Blackman presents her music video on Khojaly tragedy". February 24, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Gaunt, Kyra D. (January 1, 2015). "YouTube, Bad Bitches, and a M.I.C. (Mom-in-Chief): On the Digital Seduction of Black Girls in Participatory Hip-hop Spaces". In Gosa, Travis; Nielson, Erik (eds.). The Hip Hop & Obama Reader. Oxford University Press. pp. 207 ff. ISBN 9780199341818.
  11. ^ a b c d "Toni Blackman Audio and Music". SoundCloud. Retrieved February 14, 2019.