Hip-hop is such an important aspect of American culture that the U.S. State Department has dedicated a person to go around the world and talk about it — and she is a woman!
March is Women’s History Month, and at WBLK, we like to recognize some of the most fundamental women of our time. First we had Lupita Nyong’o and her epic Oscar win, now get to know the infamous “international champion” Toni Blackman, the U.S. State Department’s very first Hip-Hop Ambassador!
Blackman is taking her leadership skills to a new level when she was appointed the first hip-hop ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and recognized in Forbes magazine.
Blackman is a part of a cultural diplomacy program that will allow her to spread hip-hop awareness throughout the community. “The focus is the art”, said Blackman.
As an award-winning artist, she has worked with over 50 emcees, including artists such as Erykah Badu, The Roots, Wu Tang, Mos Def, Sheryl Crow, Me’Shell NdegeoCello and so forth. Blackman’s hip-hop activism is extending all around the world in areas such as Barcelona in Spain, Ghana, Sudan and South Africa, where she continues to encourage other artists to expand their talent through spoken word, lyrical configuration, beat boxing and just about anything that it takes to create music.
“No matter the language you speak,” said Blackman, “the heads nod, the heads start to nod, the body starts to rock back and forth…it all comes together and people connect to that”.
Toni Blackman is demonstrating that hip-hop that will not only tell the story, but will tap into the hearts of others regardless of their background or foreign language. As Blackman proves to be a leader of Urban Voices, and of a new generation of talent, we also salute her at WBLK.
Congratulations to all of your hard work and to the first “Hip-Hop Ambassador”!
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