By Alika Hickman
My name is Toni “Alika” Hickman. I was born in New York and raised in New Orleans. I had my first brain aneurysm in 2004, followed by another brain aneurysm in 2007. While on the operating table my body went into shock, and I also had a stroke that doctors assumed would leave me paralyzed and speechless. Before all of this, I was a well known hip hop artist signed to Universal/Suave House Records that has toured throughout the United States. I have been featured on gold and platinum albums. Vibe magazine labeled me the hottest female rapper coming out of the South.
I have been featured in Ozone mag, Hurt2Healing mag, Grip mag, Ga State mag, Vibe Mag, etc. After my health scare in 2007, I was left partially paralyzed on my right side. I started performing with an organization called Krip-hop. This organization travels all over the world promoting artist with disabilities. I also volunteer and do public speaking for the American Heart Association.
I independently put out my own album titled “Crippled Pretty.” I was lucky to get some of my Suave House label mates to feature, as well as NappyRoots artist Fishscales. Nike, Shape magazine and Serena Williams endorsed a song from my album for a fitness cd.
I started an organization called “Inspired and Able” to motivate and inspire people with disabilities, as well as those who may have a lack of confidence.
After brain surgery, doctors suggested I stay away from relaxers (perms) and color treatments for at least 1-2 years; I did extensive research on”why?” I found out not only about the damage of perms but deodorants, lotions, makeup, and more! We go to these Chain stores and purchase products simply, because it’s in a pretty bottle on the shelf. Never considering “what” the preservatives are in the product to actually “give” it shelf life. Everything that we put on our skin is slowly killing us, and donating to disease of all kinds…all in the name of beauty. So I also wrote a book titled, “Chemical Suicide/Death by Association.” I tell the reader about all the ingredients we need to avoid in our beauty products, as well as provide natural beauty recipes to make soap, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes, and other hair and beauty products. I am also working on a book about foods.
I was a panelist at this year’s Texas Black Expo. Shape Community Center created an event at the Taylor-Stevenson ranch in my honor. I have had the privilege of being featured in Spinal Column magazine and the African American News and Issues. I’ve participated in the Michael Jackson event at Jones Hall. I also conducted a workshop at the 2011 Natural Hair Pandemic in Houston, Texas, and I had the honor to be invited as a panelist for “The Ladies Roundtable” in Dallas Texas on August 27th. Many more events in between, and all I can say is I am grateful…yet again.
“I do the impossible all the time!!”