She’s here! đź’ž “Toni’s Room” is now a poetry book!

She’s here! I did it Daddy! đź’ĄThe paperback version of “Toni’s Room is available for sale! 🤸🏿‍♀️💓 I dedicated my first poetry book to my children because they are my biggest fans. It is currently available as Kindle version and paperback on Amazon. I am planning a few local book signings and also have signed copies available to order on my website at 👉🏽bit.ly/tonilovemerch . Thank you all and especially my coach Gwenn Prinbeck for gently pushing me to uncover all that I am.
“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” ~ Brene’ Brown

Let’s Stay in touch!

Media, PA
For Inquiries and Promotions:
tonitalove2@gmail.com

The Fall/Winter issue of the Philadelphia Art and Urban Literary Magazine is here and I’m the featured poet!

PAUL IS HERE!!
In this distinguished issue of the Philadelphia Art & Urban Literary Review are artists:
M. Tonita Austin, Tamara Diaz, James Dupree, Tim Okamura, Petronia Paley, Eva Preston, Danny Simmons and Richard Watson. Artist, Kathleen Spicer sits down with me to remember her late husband, renown painter, sculptor, Mr. Charles Searles who was also my great mentor and teacher. Read additional, compelling interviews with Artists: James Dupree, Tim Okamura, actress and visual artist, Petronia Paley, Danny Simmons and Richard Watson. Click the link to go inside. Stand by for details on how to collect this beautiful edition in print. Cover Art by Tim Okamura.

I am honored to be the featured poet with two poems gracing this beautiful body of work! Click the link below to look inside and let me know what you think. đź’ś

PAUL MAGAZINE

Toni Love is on Hear Now.com FREE OFFER!

You can now go to one site to choose how you want to experience Toni Love’s EP “The Restoration”. You can purchase the limited edition EP with graphic cover and artistry on the actual CD, or you can download one track or the entire body of soul-stirring poetry online. If you email me at tonitalove2@gmail.com with proof of purchase, I will mail you a Toni Love t-shirt for FREE! Wishing you a fabulous summer and days full of joy and LOVE!

https://tonilove.hearnow.com/

~ Toni

#loveistheanswer

Rewriting my story and owning it!

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I was clearing out my “drafts” folder and realized this post was never published. Two years ago, just eight months before the release of my debut EP “The Restoration”, I was given the opportunity to share the stage with two Maryland-based poets which was my first time as a paid feature. For me that was a milestone. I don’t get asked in my own city, maybe because I’m new on the scene, maybe my age and maybe because I don’t fall easily into any type of spoken word category but I am learning to sit comfortably with being not popular. I am okay with being different because it’s about the process of creating art for me and the energy I get when I know the audience is responding and feeling my written word. Ironically a month from now I will be featuring for the same poetic prowess Simply Sherri in Baltimore for her Heard it Through the Grapevine and I am looking forward to the experience. It’s a treat to be surrounded by the energy of the artists in the DMV and I can’t wait to see them again, they always give me so much love in return!

Anywhoo…just thought I’d post this and I hope that I will see you in October! Visit my  Facebook page for updates and more information or CD Baby to hear samples and download my debut EP titled “The Restoration”.  I truly appreciate the love!

I’m starting to understand how this life journey works. Half way into writing my story, just a few months from reaching what is supposed to be my golden year and I am finally giving myself permission to rewrite my story. Every few years I get to the end of a chapter, look back, reflect, revise, and restate my vision for my life before I move on to the next. This past Saturday night was one of those times when thoughtful contemplation met up with years of unconscious manifestation and moved me towards a new chapter in my life. When Sherri of Simply Poetic Entertainment contacted me to see if I would be interested in co-featuring at her first Philadelphia edition of Heard it Through the Grapevine, I was pleasantly surprised! I met her once as the spotlight artist (opening up for her and the other feature) last August so when she contacted me I had to make sure feature meant what I thought it meant before I got really excited. As she expanded on the details I knew I had to say yes. An evening of wine and love poems; that had Toni Love written all over it!  I started to think about the poems that I would recite. The flyers and event page went all over social media and I promoted the show with the same reserved passion that I always do but I was still nervous about making sure I carried my weight as a performer. 

I arrived early, asked them to save me a glass of Sangria from the wine tasting (I can never eat or drink before a performance, it makes my stomach uneasy!) and sat down to calm myself. What many don’t know is that I almost always completely blank out before a poetry reading. I can’t remember anything I’ve written and I often grab a book or start printing out poems so that I’ll have them in written form just in case. My biggest fear is that I’ll stand up and forget everything.  I panic, I pace and then I remember to sit down and breathe. As I sat I saw faces of love walk into the small gallery one by one. Friends who lived on the block I grew up on, a sorority sister who drove a few hours to get there, fellow poets, my Italian mother (that’s my nickname for her), and my brothers. I watched them add chairs as the room filled and the walls expanded. By the time I took to the mic it was standing room only. I was still nervous but excited and overwhelmingly grateful at the same time. Sherri said “you have a lot of support here..I’ve been asking who they are here to see..”  It was a vision that I didn’t know would be replicated seven months later at my EP release party. There’s nothing like looking out into a room full of faces that reflect genuine love. Nothing. 

I recited four poems and sang a bit too. It was an exciting night! The quote below is a comment sent to me the next day from the host of the event. I hope to see you at a performance venue soon. I will always return the love.  #loveistheanswer

Toni Love: I knew when I met you last year you were a dynamic performer and would wow that crowd. Your energy is incredible and your words were amazing. Let me know when you get that CD done, so I can get one.

Encouraging Young Writers in Philadelphia Today

received_10209380157758316My father loved to read and wrote a multitude of songs and essays yet published only one song in his lifetime. Today in his memory I am excited to be hosting a fundraiser for Philly Youth March and Voice4Justice. The event featuring Grammy Nominee Ursula Rucker and the extraordinarily musical Monica McIntyre begins today at 3pm at Alma Mater, 7165 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. The suggested donation is $10 and children are free! Please come and encourage our young writers. And prepare to be blown away by the collaborations and energy in the room. 

Check out the Facebook event pageVoices for Justice Event for more details and I hope to see you there!

Peace and blessings and Happy Father’s day!

Toni Love #loveistheanswer

Who Am I? I Am You & We Are Connected!

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You may have seen my face, maybe took a minute to listen to a sample track or even purchased my debut EP titled “The Restoration”, but do you know my story? I love poetry because I love telling a story. I love music because it adds color to lyrical expression. When you listen to my CD, you experience the two dancing together. I tell a story of love, loss and renewal within each track on “The Restoration”. You can purchase it on iTunes, Amazon Music and CD Baby. If you would like an autographed copy, please purchase from my site —-> Toni Love Merchandise where you will find Toni Love T-shirts as well!

I am excited about my interview with Connected Woman Magazine! Although I’ve been fortunate to have my poetry featured in other online publications in addition to being interviewed for several online radio stations, this is my first magazine interview! It was a new experience for me and a lot different from radio interviews because I was given detailed, probing questions in advance and had to take the time to  write thoughtful, honest responses. Some of the questions were more difficult than others because it required me to dig deep into my past and revisit places I’ve long tucked away. This interview process was a welcome experience because it made me think about how my poetry could be used to guide other woman towards healing so they too can be restored.

I hope you take a moment to visit the Connected Woman Magazine online edition tomorrow, June 8th. I am honored to be featured along with several other fabulously connected women, and I hope you are inspired by us all. I am you, you are me and we are all connected!

Thank you in advance for the LOVE!

~Toni  #loveistheanswer

 

 

Who Is Toni Love?

Have you had your heart broken and are afraid to love again? Do you feel like you give yourself to others and don’t know how to love yourself? Do you yearn for a surge of passion and romance in your life? Do you love good music and poetry? If you can say yes to any or all of these questions, then do yourself a favor and click the link below to order my debut EP titled “The Restoration”. I intertwine poetry with the brilliant music of Robb McCall to explore all of the above emotions and feelings. As you allow yourself to become immersed in the music and share in my journey, I am confident you will fall in love with love again!

You can purchase the entire EP with the bonus track or download the digital version by clicking the link below:

Order The Restoration on CD BABY.COM.

If you would like an autographed copy of the EP, or a Toni Love T-shirt, please visit my site by clicking here —-> Order Toni Love Music and Merchandise.

All CDs, t-shirts and tickets ordered from my site will arrive with a hand written thank you note and autographed as you choose.

The Restoration is my gift to you. I believe we can do nothing without love first. I offer you a chance to release old love, rekindle your current love or to believe that the love you seek will become more than a dream. Get the love you desire today!

~ I thank you for the love! Toni

#loveistheanswer

 

 

Happy Four Year Anniversary of my blog! :)

wpid-wp-1411652883097.jpegFour years ago in August, the weekend of my birthday I packed up my two offspring and headed to the beach. I knew that my life would never be the same when I returned and that I was embarking on a journey to recover the joy that I so desperately fought to create by marrying their father. After almost a year of counseling I realized that our nine-year marriage was not salvageable and I had to start planning for my release. I will never forget sitting on the couch next to my husband as he told our counselor that he’ll “never be the type of man to sit down and ask me how I’m feeling”. I knew then that my heart would never find a safe place with him and that I had found someone emotionally numb to marry because at the time so was I. I married my children’s father just two short months after burying my own mother and wanted a way out of the grief. Once my son was born I abandoned my career and my writing to become supermom and perfect wife. I don’t regret the time I took to raise my children but during those years I lost myself. I even stopped going to church because my husband wasn’t. Today I see more clearly and take responsibility for the part I played which has helped me to be authentic with myself going forward. If I had not accepted the reality of my choices then, I would not have been able to move on and create the joy I needed my life. The only regret I have is of not  regaining consciousness sooner.

Today, four years later, I remain unmarried and am now faced with the difficult task of parenting alone but I am a much happier and more peaceful person. I am blessed to have family and friends and sometimes extremely nurturing childcare providers who help make the journey much easier, and their father’s financial support. I started this blog so that I could have a place to recover my passion for writing. I am so grateful for all of my subscribers and those who continue to comment and encourage me to write because it has been a safe haven for my emotions and a place to share my journey. I hope that my honesty will help others to reinvent, recover and/or recreate themselves. I’ve learned from losing so many loved ones that tomorrow is not promised and to embrace each day with the same energy I would if it were my last. I am thankful that I am able to continue to be self-employed which affords me the flexibility to welcome my children home from school and taxi them to their extra curricular activities after school. I am enjoying them now.They have not had an easy four years during our separation so I am dedicated to making the rest of their life as consistent and safe as I can, without neglecting my own needs. My daily meditation and prayer helps to keep me centered and I am learning to ask for help when I need it, emotionally and physically. I make amends to my children by loving myself and taking care of my mental, physical and spiritual health so that they are free to live their lives authentically without worrying about me.

Currently, I am getting to the gym on a regular basis, I get all of my physical and other health check ups and my long-term goal is to stay on this course keeping my body strong and healthy well into my nineties. I would like to be around for my grandchildren and the work starts now. A long time friend and follower suggested I start a Parenting blog, and I did! www.AfricanAmericanParenting.com is my other WordPress blog and has a small following. I share some of the ideas and tools that have helped me raise my children over the past decade. I am also beginning to make a bit of a name for myself in the local poetry community and attend open mics and other artistic performances. It’s a struggle finding the time and energy to get out during the week and/or weekends not to mention the expense of paying a sitter and the price at the door, but it’s my passion. I can’t get out as much as I’d like but I love sharing my poetry and I enjoy being inspired by the performances of other artists. Just a few days before my birthday this year I was given the opportunity to open up for a few well-known poets at The Collective All Artist Open Mic at La Rose Jazz Club in Philadelphia and it was a phenomenal night for me! Not only did my family and friends come out to fill the room, but a few local and extremely talented artists offered to support me so that I could perform my poems accompanied by live music and a vocalist! We practiced for two hours and put on a show that I am extremely proud of. For me, it was confirmation that I had indeed recovered Tonita (aka Toni Love)! The energy in the room was magnetic and they asked me to return in the near future to perform as the featured artist. What a thrill! I am so thankful I thought to have it all captured on video. You can see me performing my original poem “Finally Over” featuring the gifted vocalist Bruce Mustafaa, accompanied by the multifaceted Lamont “da Villain” and accomplished poet and percussionist Omar Sharif right here –> http://youtu.be/Ykb_NMRLPms. I am working on an EP of six or seven poems and hope to present it in early Spring, and I look forward to expanding my fan base and featuring in venues outside of Philadelphia. I am humbled that some mention Jill Scott when they see me perform and I know I have a long way to go before I am ready to share the stage with such Philadelphia royalty, but maybe not. My life thus far has been proof that anything is possible and that it is never too late to pursue your passion. I spent so much of my life trying to force solutions to unfold the way I thought they should or how I wanted them to be. My Creator has proven to me that I can ask for what I want but I cannot hold onto my wants like a shield. Often times I have to let go, step aside and allow the blessings in whatever form to come into my life. I am open to receive.

Thank you for taking this journey with me for the past four years. I couldn’t have done it without you. Stay tuned..the best is yet to come!

Happy Anniversary! Stop through again soon!
Love,

Toni

Watch “Phyllis Hyman’s “Meet Me on the Moon” performed by Kim Pinder-Gardner with poem by Toni Love.” on YouTube

It’s a little dark but Kim Pinder-Gardner is sounding fabulous as always and it’s the first time I performed one of my poems without reading from the paper so I am so proud! It was truly a magical night for me and I can’t wait to do it again. This was performed at the R Lounge in Wilmington, Delaware on April 4, 2013 for Richard Tucker with the Universal Koncept.
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Watch “Toni Love – Old School Love 8/1/12 @ WCL Philly” on YouTube

I have been writing poetry since the third grade. My teacher was so impressed with my poem that she had me read it to the entire class as an example for them. I can still remember it. My writing continued but didn’t really take flight until my college years. The cultural influence of New York City and the exposure leant by living near the heart of Harlem bled into my poetry and the life experiences of my college years made me blossom. I performed in sold out performances of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem,” For Colored Girls” and was given the opportunity to read my poem “Creativity” to open for my idol Sonia Sanchez. My poetry and prose was published in the literary magazine on campus and I was well known in the African-American community as a writer. Then life happened – I was unable to finish my last year at college for financial reasons so I returned home depressed and angry and the writing ceased.
Now I am recovering Toni, the writer and it’s been a slow process but I am not giving up. I started this blog to remind me of my authentic self and to share my writing and poetry with the world. And now I feel it’s time to take the next step and give it a voice.
I promised myself that I would sign up for an open mic night in Philadelphia and share the feelings behind the words. With my best friend,
my brother and my love supporting me, I took the stage at a small venue and read “Meet Me” to a very supportive crowd. I was shaking like a leaf, but it felt good and they loved it. To start my birthday month off, I promised myself that I would take the stage at one of the largest open mic events in the city and debut my most popular poem here on my blog. I was afraid, but not as nervous. When I arrived to sign up, they told me that the list was full, and the only spot left was the slot to be the very first to go up on stage. Apparently no one wanted to go first! The place was packed, the stage was huge and none of my friends had arrived yet to tell me what to do. It was then that I felt courage on my shoulder, whispering into my ear. “You came all this way and invited your friends to come see you NOT perform? What about your promise to yourself? “. So I pushed past the fear and signed my stage name, Toni Love, at the top of the list.
It was exhilarating, exciting, scary and affirming all at the same time. One of my good friends captured it on film. Let me know what you think. I’m open to constructive criticism, especially since it will not be the last time I bless the mic. I’m in love!

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