Earlier this month, Toki Wright—a local hip-hop artist and educator—surprised the eighth grade class at Roseville Area Middle School by appearing at their graduation.
“I was playing in the Mainroom and my big bro Conrad at First Avenue asked if I would come out to the school and make a special guest appearance,” explains Wright, referring to stage manager Conrad Sverkerson, who is a friend of a teacher at the school.
“I was honored that he asked. Being at the school on such an important day meant more to me than the students may have known. They were transitioning into the most important years of their lives and I can clearly remember being that 14-year-old. I was homeless trying to figure out where I was going to sleep every night. One of the only things that kept me sane was my passion for hip-hop. I had to invite some of them up to stage because I was once that kid standing in the front row waiting for someone to give me a chance to show that I had something worthy to say. There are really talented young people out there that just need a chance to be seen and heard. They will be the ones that change the world for the better.”
Here’s an account of the visit by student D’Lanie Perry.
Toki Wright came to my middle school graduation, and it was awesome! Due to Toki’s involvement with #blacklivesmatter, I asked him about some ways that I could inform my peers, family and community on the issues and events of recent times.
He told me that I could start a group/club that would work to inform the people. This group could accomplish many great things with posters or even peaceful demonstrations (with permission of course). It was also remarkable to have Toki come to my eighth grade celebration for other reasons as well.
Firstly, his songs are AMAZING!!! Everyone (students and teachers alike) got really into his music. Toki performed to us, not at us! He also played a few rhyming games which made the performance interactive and very entertaining. There were times when Toki even invited a few of my peers to share some of their own musical talents. It was a great honor to have someone who not only makes amazing music but who is also extremely dedicated to his community and strives to make a positive change in that community.