Wisdom of the Cypher
Spoken-word artist, poet, and MC Toni Blackman has spent nearly 30 years carving a socially engaged career for herself, even if she—and the performing arts industry in general—has only started more intentionally embracing that kind of entrepreneurial language and mindset more recently. In 1994 the northern California native and Howard University graduate started the Freestyle Fellowship in Washington DC, a development ground for aspiring rappers that Blackman modeled on Black-artist organized writers’ and musicians’ workshops of the 1960s and ’70s. In 2001 she was named the US State Department’s first Hip-Hop Cultural Envoy, traveling to Senegal and Ghana to conduct hip-hop workshops. She’s since recognized how such freestyle workshops not only allow rappers to hone their craft but also provide artists and teaching artists with a model to nurture and care for their own creative practices. The Department of Music Engineering and Technology brings Blackman to Peabody next week for a residency funded by the Levi Family Distinguished Visiting Artists Fund, which includes her Wisdom of the Cypher presentation on Tuesday, September 27; solo performance on Thursday, September 29; and a performance with student collaboration on Friday, September 30.
This performance is free and open to the public. Seating is general admission. Masking is optional for all patrons. Please review COVID safety guidelines under JHU policy.