We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Toya Exnicious a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Toya, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today One of the things we most admire about small businesses is their ability to diverge from the corporate/industry standard. Is there something that you or your brand do that differs from the industry standard? We’d love to hear about it as well as any stories you might have that illustrate how or why this difference matters.
I definitely think that our approach to spirituality is one of a kind. Using current (and vintage) hip hop music and artists to help us convey spiritual messages is a fresh approach to teaching & I think it makes learning relatable and fun. Honestly we see this more as artist expression that traditional church or ministry. It’s what makes us unique.
Toya, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
To explain myself plainly, I’m a minister and prophet (seer). I have been in full-time ministry for 22 years now. The first program I ever launched was mentorship for teen girls. On our very first date we had over 100 teen girls to attend & the success just blossomed after that. It was at that point that i realized the power of my mind and my own creative ideas. Mentorship was only one aspect of what I did while in full time ministry. I spent time as a receptionist, administrative assistant, business & international affairs, women’s ministry, event planner, speaker/teacher. etc… You name it, I pretty much had a hand in it. Everything I learned in ministry helped me to understand what it took to launch my own career, but I knew it had to be different.
After ministry, I did a spent. time on radio as the co-host of, the Canton Jones show, on Praise 102.5 in Atlanta. I also hosted several of my own annual events. These were all of the building blocks of what I do today.
When I started the Hip Hop Cathedral during the pandemic, it was really just sattire. Something positive to do to pass time. Little did I know that it would take on a life of its own & impact people in the way that it did. We had weekly services online where we would feature a current hip hop song/artist, and use the theme of the music to. teach spiritual lessons and. principles. We featured several hip hop artists on the platform, and the director of the Netflix doc, “Hip Hop Evolution”. Our simple desire is to create a safe space for people to feel seen, valued, and heard…while also sparking joy & fun.
To us, hip hop is spiritual. Black culture is spiritual and worthy of honor and celebration. Through our work we are able to teach, inspire, and impart, while also celebrating a long legacy of black art, music, and culture. It’s a win-win. We hope that we can bridge a gap between the spiritual world and popular culture in a way that is revolutionary, brave, wild, raw, sound, clear, deep, and joyful.
I’m proud of the way my team and I have been able to find our niche. I love that I work with a bunch of rebels & outcasts that are daring enough to tell our story differently. It takes so much bravery to go against the grain and to do things that have never been done. The craziest part about it all is that we’re just getting started.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I am so fascinated by black American culture. It moves me in a way that is truly unexplainable. Seeing our resilience, depth, creativity and beauty is so inspiring. Looking at who we are & the things we have built from nothing makes me want celebrate all that we are.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on NFTs. (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice
I love evolution & the idea that the world is constantly changing. I still have a lot to learn about NFTs but I’m excited about it. Of course there are “evils” that come along with all things & this is no different. From a spiritual aspect, I definitely think that we should prepare for what the world will look like when people, at large, at grossly attached to virtual reality. It’s an intriguing problem to figure out a way to solve.
- Website: www.hiphopcathedral.com
- Instagram: @thehiphopcathedral
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/toyaexnicious
- Twitter: @mstprissy
Photographer IG: @lovisionz