Cultural Diplomacy and Hip Hop
by Samuel Jones
The musician - and U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador - Toni Blackman, is working with USINFO to explain the values and origins of Hip Hop as an original American artform to an international audience. In her capacity as cultural ambassador, she has also performed at the Field Museum in Chicago, one of the institutions to whom we spoke whenb we were there. Amongst other things, this demonstrates the role that major cultural institutions can play as logical environments for learning about new cultures alongside their more direct role as the agents of that comunication.
'Since 2001', reads a State Department press release, 'Blackman has taken her hip-hop road show on behalf of the United States to Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland and Poland, among other places. In Indonesia, where Blackman performed with traditional Javanese musicians, Blackman remembers the electricity of her collaboration with a traditional Indonesian orchestra using traditional instruments.'