US Rapper Toki Wright to hold music workshop in Sierra Leone
Hip Hop rapper, poet and community organizer, Toki Wright (in photo), is scheduled to hold a series of concerts and engage young Sierra Leoneans who are interested in hip hop music.
The Minnesota MC who is the latest artist to sign with Rhymesayers Entertainment will arrive in Sierra Leone in May, according to the United States embassy in Freetown.
The award winning rapper will team up with ‘Bobor Bele’ star Emmerson Bockarie to train interested and qualified persons on how to use music to educate, inform and engage communities on social issues.
Speaking to SaloneJamboree in an exclusive interview at the embassy facility at Hill Station, Boe Lee, Head of Public Affairs at the US embassy, said Toki’s visit is part of the United States Arts envoy program.
“The Art Envoy program is an opportunity for American Art performers to be able to come here to show their art form,” Lee said.
She went on further: “Toki will be performing in Freetown and Kenema and also hold a workshop for young people on the history of hip hop in the United States and its connection to Africa.”
According to a statement by the Public Affairs section of the US embassy, the workshop is open to people within the ages of 13 and 25 who have attained at least a Junior Secondary School education and interested in pursuing music education.
“Hip hop is a good way to reach young people here. So we wanted to bring a US hip hop artist here in a cultural exchange to also share the appreciation for hip hop music,’’ Lee added.
Asked whether the recent ban on Kao Denero’s concert which has left some people with a different perception on the arts will affect Wrights message here, Lee said: “I think the majority of hip hop fans love the music not the violence and I think that is the message Toki will bring. Hip hop is just music. It’s about expressing what you are feeling or what you are thinking. Music fans will appreciate that in general.”
“We were looking for somebody that is not just a hip hop artist but somebody who can teach the history of hip hop. Toki is an educator, somebody who practices it and also teaches it.”
She said they want to encourage young people to see hip hop as a way of expression and also appreciate the art in general. She said the US observes Freedom of Expression in May, and “We encourage young people to express their feelings, their desires. We do it in a way that is peaceful; we do it in a way that is productive.”
Lee said the US embassy has also worked with other artist in promoting peace during the elections. We are excited about this and we hope the people of Sierra Leone will appreciate this. We will also continue to have a strong relationship with musicians here. This is a great opportunity to just appreciate music in general.”
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ABOUT TOKI WRIGHT
Toki Wright is a Twin Cities based emcee, poet, and community organizer. He is the newest artist on Rhymesayers Entertainment. Wright has been featured on recordings by Atmosphere, C-Rayz Walz. P.O.S., and more.
His performance credits include Scribble Jam, SXSW, Coachella, Bumbershoot, Sons d’Hiver, and Prairie Home Companion.
Wright tours throughout the United States and Canada as an opening act and hype man for Brother Ali, and is a member of the groups: The C.O.R.E. and The Chosen Few.
As a community organizer, Toki has led the nationally recognized youth organization YO! The Movement (featured in The Source magazine), coordinated seven Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop Festivals, and taught Hip-Hop history and performance to former child soldiers in Gulu, Northern Uganda with the organization H.E.A.L.S.
Toki’s many awards include winner of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop Award in 2007, Artist of the Year (KMOJ Radio) in 2006, in 2003 he was Artist of the Year (Star Tribune), a Minnesota Music Award Nominee for Best Hip-Hop Recording, and landed in the Top 10 Albums of the Year (Star Tribune). He has appeared as a Coach on MTV Made. Two of his songs with the group The C.O.R.E. are featured in the film “Justice” which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
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