The U.S. State Department’s first hip-hop ambassador, Toni Blackman, will lead a first-time, freestyle poetry workshop at ArtsWestchester in White Plains, Thursday, Jan. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. The workshop is being done in collaboration with Rock the Vote!, the largest nonpartisan nonprofit organization in the nation driving young people to the polls. Fusing pop culture, politics and technology, Rock the Vote! works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate. Blackman’s workshop takes place against the backdrop of ArtsWestchester’s current exhibit, “Give Us the Vote,” with a focus on improvised rap. Participants will learn techniques for creating their own verse in a cypher, a group setting in which everyone performs collectively in a circle.
Blackman is a rapper, actress and writer. In addition to serving as the nation’s first hip-hop ambassador, she has performed alongside Erykah Badu, the Wu-Tang Clan, Sheryl Crow and many others. She has served in Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, and Swaziland.
This workshop, at the arts council’s Arts Exchange headquarters, 31 Mamaroneck Ave., is made possible with support from Con Edison. For more, visit artswestchester.org.
– Edited by Georgette Gouveia