Poet\Spoken Word Performance Artist\Educator. A.K. Toney has dedicated his life to performing poetry and teaching young people. Raised in the Leimert Park Village Arts Enclave, Toney became a Poet that transformed into Griot. With a background of Jazz Influence from late great mentors such as Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, Juno Lewis, and Richard Fulton; Toney learned the makings of a Griot and what it means to be active in an urban Village. With twenty plus years of experience in the craft of writing, workshopping and performance Toney has travelled abroad and nationally as a Performance Artist through residencies with Keith Antar Mason and The Hittite Empire; teaching Performance Art Ritual to At-risk youth in inner cities. He has also performed at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hamer, Museum of Contemporary Art, as well the J. Paul Getty Museum. In addition, Toney has instructed, presented, exhibited, and published poetry with workshops in partnership with the Natural History Museum, The La Brea Tar Pits and nonprofit organizations through his Literacy Program known as Reading Is Poetry. “Read to write… Then write your story. Self-Esteem, Self-Expression, Self-Efficacy, Glory.”
A.K. has now mastered his skills of poetry while playing rhythm and percussion instruments. Redefining himself into the Griot. With the influence of Jazz rhythm and African Tradition through the medium of Urban Vernacular poetry, Toney brings the true core values from the Griot which are, “Sing and play songs. Love the people. Respect the people.” This is Griot, Storytelling and Music.