Akilah Toney

Artistic Replenish Residencies
Type of work
Multidisciplinary Artist

Akilah Toney is a 20-year-old published writer, poet, dancer, photographer, and youth advocate from New Orleans, Louisiana. In 2020 she graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts with a focus in creative writing. She currently attends Loyola University New Orleans majoring in Psychology and Theatre Arts. From writing and dancing at the age of 10, she uses the arts as a means to amplify her experiences at the intersections of young Black Queer womanhood in the south. With her knowledge of hip hop, modern, and African dance techniques; much of her dance work centers on her own self-liberation through movement. Her background in writing assists in her ability to tell stories through her body. Beyond dance and writing, she also photographs and archives Black life in New Orleans. She uses her creative processes as artistic libations, using the work she makes as a show of gratitude to this land. Her artistic practices are a bit abstract and ever-changing. She explores different mediums of art, but a foundation has always been music, whether that’s the musicality of a poem or the music of a dance. Much of her art practices are integrative – a specific rhythm or image would hold her mind hostage until she writes it out on the page. Poems inspire dance movement and sometimes vice versa.  She hasc ome to view herself as a Griot in training, and art is her form of communication to her community. Whether it’s communication through writing, dance, directing shows, taking photos, or making soundscapes; part of her artistry is being in conversation with the South, her childhood, and perceptions of time overall.

While in residence, Akilah continued to revise her solo project, “Delta Heart,” which will be presented in collaboration with LOUD Queer Youth. She wants to expand the project into building her own artistic world to launch a larger artistic presentation. Her process involved writing, recording, dancing, and soundscape building.