MC/Actress/Activist/Writer Toni Blackman was introduced to me many years ago by a colleague at XM Satelitte Radio. At the time she was the U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador and had just returned from Senegal where she was working with a group of Senegalese MC's on a Tran-Atlantic Hip Hop collaboration. Through the years I featured Toni on Worldzone and Flava. I've been trying to get her on Cocoa Mode for a while, but she's an incredibly busy woman with so much going on, including her latest project - The Lyrical Embassy. In Toni's words, " The Lyrical Embassy represents the community that believes in inspiration and empowerment through creativity, art and music. It serves as an umbrella for all the work I've done with Freestyle Union and I Rhyme Like A Girl, extending the reach by developing a cadre of artist/educators who will teach and perform in workshops as Lyrical Ambassadors in 2009. It offers tools and resources, including a CD and a corporate offering to create more impact. It is a platform to work together to make music, make change, and groom a new group of world-class leaders".
Toni is one of those sisters who understands the power of Hip Hop music and culture and is on the front line teaching young people both here and abroad how to channel their creative energy in positive ways. When all that Imus/Hip Hop mess was going on, I kept watching and hoping that Toni or any sister involved in the Hip Hop culture would be asked to represent the female perspective, unfortunately rather than allow us to speak for ourselves, they called on the men to speak for us, as if. Anyway, please take some time to learn more about Toni Blackman and if she's ever in your area, do yourself a favor and check her out live. You won't be disappointed!