Making Waves Across The World - First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble, Toni Blackman, Xuman - 10/21/2016 - 8:00pm

Making Waves Across The World

Promenade Hall

This special evening will serve as welcome and celebration of the arrival of First Wave’s 10th cohort through a special showcase performance by cohort members and will culminate with a performance of one of Africa’s most important hip hop artists, Senegalese superstar Xuman to be featured with special guest performer Toni Blackman (the former US Ambassador to Hip Hop) and local artists Nick Moran, Robert Schoville, Paul Hastil and Emily Wendorff backing them up. 

First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble

Presenter photo

The First Wave Hip Hop Theatre Ensemble (FWTE) is a groundbreaking collective of spoken word poets, emcees, dancers, singers, actors, and activists from across the United States. FWTE represents the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community at UW-Madison, the world's first and only full tuition scholarship for Hip Hop and urbans arts. They create works that unpack the personal narrative as a route to academic engagement, artistic productivity and community engagement.


They have performed in England, Mexico, Panama, Africa, Australia, and Jamaica as well as across the USA including featured performances on Broadway and annual performance keynote at the Boys & Girl Club Keystone Conference.  Touring Members host workshops and performances in local and regional high school and community spaces.


FWTE Members for 2021-22 are Azura Tyabji (Seattle), Jackson Neal (Houston), Marjan Naderi (DC), Sarah Abbas (St. Louis), & Zachary Lesmeister (St. Louis).

Toni Blackman

Toni Blackman

Writer and performer Toni Blackman is the first Hip Hop artist invited to work as a Cultural Ambassador with the US Department of State. Toni is creator of Freestyle Union and Rhyme like a Girl and was a 2012 DOVE Real Woman Honoree. She is currently a teaching artist at Carnegie Hall and recently performed for Lincoln Center.  This Echoing Green fellow was commissioned by the National Black Arts Festival for her Hip Hop theater piece “Wisdom of the Cypher”, featured in Forbes Magazine, on CENTRIC television and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, CBS morning news, MTV, VH1 and on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Toni speaks, teaches workshops, coaches in performance and public speaking and releases her new book Wisdom of the Cypher along with her hip hop meditation album this fall.

Recent Book
Inner Course: A Plea For Real Love



Makhtar Fall aka Gunman Xuman is a Senegalese Hip Hop Pioneer, social justice activist, and TV Co-Host of the popular Journal Rappe that innovatively raps the news and educate audiences on the social, environmental, political and other issues that affects Senegal, Africa and the world. Xuman’s current work in Journal Rappe is in the intersection of Hip Hop, music, social and environmental justice, politics, education, African culture, and journalism to promote democracy, good governance, Gender and human rights, human and environmental health. In April 2013, Xuman and his good friend Keyti launched Journal Rappe, which has garnered both national and international praise. Through actively engaging youths and adults in music, Hip Hop, education and the innovative approach to rap the news, “Journal Rappe” has been highly effective in bringing attention to wide range of issues ranging from the social to the environmental, the political to the cultural. As a result of his work, Journal Rappe as an innovative concept to deliver the news and a platform for freedom of expression among youths is now taking roots in countries outside of Senegal like Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Madagascar, and as far as Jamaica in the Caribbean. Xuman is a co-founder of  Jamarek (Peace Only) a nonprofit organization that seeks to create a safe and resourceful learning environment for kids, and provide medical equipment and supplies to medical facilities and disable in Senegal, Xuman is well known around Senegal for his commitment for democratic advancement and social justice.