Toni Blackman is the first Hip Hop artist selected to work as a US Hip Hop Ambassador with the US Department of State. Her experiences in cultural diplomacy as an artist enables her to move through various communities (the arts, political circles, international gatherings, youth groups, academia, music industry, etc). As an official Hip hop Envoy she has traveled extensively throughout South Africa, Botswana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Swaziland, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, performing and working in more than 30 different countries. She has also served as a juror for the American Music Abroad tour, a judge for ExchangesConnect programs, worked with international cultural arts competition, and has been consulted on selection of talent from both North America and Africa for various department initiatives. An Echoing Green Fellow, a former Open Society Institute Fellow, creator of Freestyle Union and Rhyme like a Girl, Toni is both highly respected as an artist and social entrepreneur. She was commissioned by the African Continuum Theater Company in Washington, DC to co-write and co-star in “The Hip Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown” and has featured pieces at the NY Hip Hop Theater Festival. Toni’s first book, Inner-Course was released in 2003 (Villard/Random House). She recently completed Wisdom of the Cipher which will be released late Spring/Summer 2014. Her new book, Travels of a Lyrical Ambassador: A Poetic Memoir, has a 2015 release date, and will have an accompanying soundtrack.