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Press Release

The American Institute in Taiwan Public Affairs Section Presents American Hip Hop Ambassador --Toni Blackman Hip Hop Ensemble February 14 - 16, 2006

PR0602E | Date: 2006-01-11

In celebration of Black History Month, the American Institute in Taiwan Public Affairs Section is pleased to host one discussion and two concerts, both free of charge, by The American Hip Hop Ambassador -- Toni Blackman Hip Hop Ensemble in Taipei and Kaohsiung.  This program is arranged under the auspices of the U.S. Department of States/Jazz at Lincoln Center: American Music Abroad program.  The ensemble will visit Taiwan on the last leg of their Asia tour, which also includes Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.  Members of the group include Toni Blackman (rap lyricist), Bryon Hankins (bass), Jeremy Mag (keyboard) and Ivan Katz (drums).  The Taipei concert is organized by the AIT Public Affairs Section, co-organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Taipei City Government with assistance from the Taipei Cultural Center.  The Kaohsiung concert is presented by AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office with assistance from the Sun Yat-sen America Center of the National Sun Yat-sen University.  Program details are as follows:


Topic: "Poetry, Spoken Word, and the Literary Arts in Hip Hop Culture"

Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 at 3:30 p.m.

Location: The Metropolitan Hall, Taipei

To register to attend, please contact: American Cultural Center, Tel: 2723-3959 ext. 214

Concert in Taipei

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Metropolitan Hall, Taipei

For free tickets, please contact:

  1. American Cultural Center RM. 2101, 21F, 333, Keelung Road, Sec. 1, Taipei; Tel: 2723-3959 ext. 214 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
  2. The Metropolitan Hall 25, Ba-de Road, Sec. 3, Taipei; Tel: 2577-5931 ext. 266 2:00 - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
  3. Taipei Y17 Youth Activity Center 17, Jen-ai Road, Sec. 1, Taipei, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Concert in Kaohsiung

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.

Location: Sun Yat-sen Hall of the National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung


Topic: "Poetry, Spoken Word, and the Literary Arts in Hip Hop Culture"

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 3:00 p.m.

Location: Conference Room, 2nd Floor, Library of National Sun Yat-Sen University

To register to attend, please contact: AIT/Kaohsiung Branch Office, Tel: 07-238-7744 ext. 617

For free tickets, please contact:

  1. Information Desk, Kaohsiung Cultural Center Zhih Shan Hall 67, Wu Fu 1st Road, Kaohsiung; Tel:222-5141 x 237 9:00 am -5:00 pm., Monday through Sunday
  2. American Institute in Taiwan Kaohsiung Branch 5F, 2, Chung Cheng 3 Road, Kaohsiung; Tel: 07-238-7744 ext. 617 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  3. The Sun Yat-sen America Center, National Sun Yat-sen University 70, Lien-hai Rd., Kaohsiung; Tel: 07-525-2490 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Background:  The unique American style of music and dance "Hip Hop" originated in the subculture of Black and Puerto Rican communities in the South Bronx section of New York City around the mid 1970s.  Its original purpose was to promote peace, love, unity and fun, so that people could get away from the negative influence of the streets.  "Hip Hop" now serves as a vehicle for teaching awareness, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, respect, responsibility, and especially self-expression.  During the last two to three decades, Hip Hop has enjoyed widespread exposure and has become part of the youth culture worldwide.  Hip Hop has also gained popularity among the youth in Taiwan over the last ten years.

Toni Blackman is an international champion of Hip-Hop culture.  She is known for her irresistible, contagious performances and alluring female presence.  She's all heart, all rhythm, all song, all power--a one-woman revolution of poetry and microphone.  An award-winning artist, her steadfast work and commitment to Hip-Hop led the U.S. Department of State to bestow her with the title of U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador.

She has shared the stage with the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Wu Tang Clan, GURU, Bahamadia, Boot Camp Clic, Me'Shell NdegeoCello, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and Rickie Lee Jones.  Her first book, Inner-Course, was released in 2003 (Villard/Random House).  In 2004, she performed in Spain at the Barcelona World Social Forum, featured in the CUTTING EDGE Festival in Darmstadt, Germany, and toured South Africa as a headliner on the URBAN VOICES Festival.  Toni featured at SENERAP Festival in Dakar in 2003 and continues to collaborate with artists from around the world.

Highly respected as the founder and director of Freestyle Union, a cipher workshop that uses freestyling as a tool to encourage social responsibility, Blackman's work has held great influence in the world of Hip-Hop activism.  Toni is a member of the Spoken Word Committee of the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy (aka The GRAMMY's). Also, AOL BlackVoices recently named Toni as one of the top ten African-American Next Generation Leaders to watch.

Please visit the AIT website for more information about the Hip Hop programs. For any question about the programs, please contact Ms. Teresa Huang at 2723-3959 ext. 214 or e-mail: