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Toni Simmons Henson, founder of the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF)

  • Broadcast in Entertainment
SOULIN with Mzuri and Djehuty

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Toni Simmons Henson is a spoken word poet, author, public speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She has over 30 years of expertise in business development, entertainment production, and marketing. She previously owned and operated three franchises and launched four businesses during the span of her career. Henson is a graduate of New York University (M.P.A.) and Howard University (B.B.A.).

Henson has attracted national publicity, including feature stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), Entrepreneur Magazine, and a cover story in the Princeton Packet Weekend Magazine.

In 2007, Henson moved to Atlanta and started Micah 6-8 Media, LLC. She began producing plays written by African-American women. In 2012, she founded the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF) with her sister, Wanda Simmons. This annual event attracts thousands of theatre lovers from around the corner to around the globe, including North America, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. To date, the ABTF has provided a platform for over 150 self-producing African-American playwrights and over 3,000 artists. As a spoken word artist and public speaker, Toni X, has made appearances in the U.S. and Ghana.

Henson was honored by the National Council of Negro Women Greater Atlanta Section in recognition of her contributions to the theatre community. She is the recipient of the 2019 Jewel of the Mountain Award for Arts and Letters from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, SM-LAC. She has also received numerous awards and accolades for distinguished achievement in business.

In 2014, Micah 6-8 Media, LLC was named the first runner up, Emerging Business of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce for ABTF’s significant contributions to economic development and community impact in DeKalb County.

Henson has been married to Antonio Henson for 32 years. Together they’ve raised four children, three biological and one adopted. 

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