Published Nov. 4, 2011
Springfield, Ohio – The Wittenberg University Office of the First-Year Experience presents its 2011 Visiting Artist in Residence, Toni Blackman, an international champion of hip-hop culture, an American rapper, performer, writer, artist development/consultant and State Department Musical Ambassador. Blackman will be on campus from Sunday through Wednesday, Nov. 6-9, and during her visit she will meet with classes as well as present programming, which is free and open to the public.
Blackman will lead a panel discussion of the new documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ), which will take place immediately following a public screening of the film at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, in Ness Family Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall, 281 Bill Edwards Drive. The event is co-sponsored by Union Board.
The director of the film, Michael Rapaport, has called A Tribe Called Quest “the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin of first generation hip-hop.”
The community is also welcome to attend a Witt Sem colloquium with Blackman earlier in the day. At 3 p.m., Blackman will present “Hip-hop, Love & Hate,” in Ness Family Auditorium. Her work and commitment to hip-hop resulted in the award-winning artist’s selection by the U.S. Department of State as the first ever hip-hop artist to work as an American Cultural Specialist.
Blackman will also present, “Your life + Your Work=Your Gift to the World” during Weekday Chapel services, which begin at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Weaver Chapel.
Highly respected as the founder and director of Freestyle Union, a cipher workshop that uses free styling as a tool to encourage social responsibility, Blackman’s work has held great influence in the world of hip hop activism.
“Toni Blackman is a poet, MC, oral historian, and truth-teller. Just as Langston Hughes and the Beat writers embraced jazz as a way to frame their pursuit of higher truths, Blackman grabs the mic literally as if life depended on it, carving for herself a space where words are sacred, and where her literary objectives soar,” said Kevin Powell, editor of Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts