By 651 ARTS on February 29, 2016
In an effort to help our audience know more about the artists 651 ARTS presents, we have developed the 6-5-1 Interview—six questions, five minutes, one artist. This interview spotlights Hip Hop Ambassador and MC Toni Blackman.
- What’s your morning routine?
What’s your fondest memory of being a Black child?
- I believe in waking slowly. I repeat my affirmations while still under the covers then I boil water for my lemon detox or a detox drink. I review my priority lists, and then I do qigong breathing exercises. Then I’ll either make green juice or I’ll pull a jar of it out of the fridge to warm up. I do my best not to check Facebook or e-mail for at least 30 to 45 min after I wake.
How do you define Classically Black?
- I remember going to church early and listening to old folks moan spiritual hymns. I grew up in a small working class town where all the older Black folks had migrated from Louisiana. So I remember coming home from school, walking down the block and smelling gumbo, fried fish and/or that same stew that everyone’s grandma made. I remember bid whist and dominos. I remember step routines, popping and locking. I remember my grandpa’s kisses on my forehead, grandma rubbing my belly to calm me and my aunt Jennifer reciting her poems.
If you could visit any place in the world where would it be and why?
- Classically Black is about soul. It’s about timelessness and that very special energy that can only be attributed to Black folk and Black culture. It’s a special, hard to define feeling that is best expressed via song or dance or rhythms. We can see it in a painting, feel it in a riff and hear it in the timbre of a poet’s voice.
What’s going to be fly, fresh and fun about being a Black person in 50 years?
- I’ve traveled to 41 countries around the world, but I am sad that I have not yet been to Cuba. Cuba has been calling me for decades. Cuba draws me to it because of the African roots and connections. I cannot wait to feel Cuban sun on my skin, to dance to Afro-Cuban rhythms and to put my feet in the waters.
How do you love?
- The flyest thing about being a Black person in 50 years will be the love—the love of self, the love of another, the love of culture and creations. It’s a love that was taken for granted and so it has been fleeting but I’m so inspired by current events. Even the painful struggle is giving birth to beauty right now, so much beauty.
- My love is deep. My love is pure. My love is strong. I love upon sight. No meeting needed. I love because love is necessary and it feels better than not loving. I believe in love and so I love without apology.
651 ARTS would like to thank Toni Blackman for answering our six questions that give a better glimpse of the artists we present. Stay tuned for more artist interviews. Keep up with 651 ARTS by following us on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the links to the right.