Last month, Dove’s Real Woman Role Model/”Women Who Should Be Famous” campaign featured poet and lyricist Toni Blackman. The initiative, fronted by singer/actress Mandy Moore, spotlights dynamic women whose lives and careers are focused on boosting young girls’ self-image and esteem. In the video, Blackman discusses her childhood struggles with body image, parental addiction, and self-confidence. The video also spotlights Blackman’s popular workshop “Rhyme Like a Girl,” which trains and encourages young women to use their voices as poets, writers, and lyricists. Of her work with young women, Blackman has this to say: “We don’t want people to think that we think we’re all that. And I say: think you’re all that. ‘Rock the mic’ refers to the idea of being bold, being audacious, and using your smarts and not diminishing your intelligence, your brilliance, your light.”
Toni Blackman is the first U.S. Hip-Hop Cultural Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, and her work in that role has led her to Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Swaziland, and other nations to lecture on hip-hop music and culture:
Moore and Dove assert that, for all Blackman’s difference-making work in the lives of young girls and for the ground she’s broken for women in hip-hop and spoken word, she deserves to be more well-known than she is. We agree.