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Toni Blackman Biography

Toni Blackman is a cultural ambassador, public speaker, and an advocate of improvisation. Specializing in freestyle hip-hop, she was the first Hip-Hop Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, showcasing the versatility and dynamism of this art form. Her experiences as a diplomatic worker and public speaker enable her to navigate various communities (the arts, political circles, international gatherings, youth groups, academia, and the music industry) with ease. As America's inaugural Hip-Hop Ambassador, her work has consistently communicated that hip-hop is an international platform to portray the US as a good global citizen.

Blackman has traveled and worked in over 30 different countries, including Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland, Ivory Coast, the DRC, Brazil, South Africa, Angola, and various places in Europe. Her diplomatic work encompasses peace and reconciliation, literacy, HIV awareness, and gender violence prevention. She proudly served as a 2006 Rhythm Road touring artist and was on the selection committee for American Music Abroad, further evidencing her international influence. In 2006, she was also the founding director of Freestyle Union, a cipher workshop using freestyling as a tool to encourage social responsibility, holding great sway in the world of hip-hop activism. A former Echoing Green Fellow, Blackman has also been a fellow with the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute. Her work with the Freestyle Union and its woman-centric initiative Rhyme Like a Girl, which launched in partnership with Girls, Inc., and later partnered with the New School University, has greatly benefitted from her creative organizing efforts.

With a knack for turning her passion for creativity and improvisation into a compelling presentation on "getting open," being centered, and harnessing personal power from the inside out, Blackman has spoken at international conferences and facilitated artist residencies. She has performed and spoken at the Aspen Institute Summit in Oman, the prestigious Pio Manzu International Conference in Italy, the World Cup at the ManUp Summit in South Africa, and the FORD Foundation and City Xpo Big Ideas Conference in Virginia. Her workshops and trainings have benefited organizations like the NBA, Craigslist Foundation, Julliard, Ross School of Business-UM, Smithsonian Museum, Harvard, and the Girl Scouts "Beyond Bars" program for incarcerated mothers. A former adjunct professor of hip-hop at Binghamton University and a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Blackman is currently a judge for the US Department of State's American Music Abroad program.

Blackman's performance repertoire is equally impressive, having shared the stage with artists such as Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Wu-Tang, and Guru, and at events like the Lilith Fair and Def Poetry. She has toured Southeast Asia with Jazz at Lincoln Center's Musical Ambassador Program, and her first book, "Inner-Course," was released in 2003. Her work has been featured in scholarly articles about hip-hop culture and she is a member of the Spoken Word Committee of the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy.

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Toni Blackman for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Toni Blackman speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Toni Blackman for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Toni Blackman speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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