Cambridge Poet Populist Toni Bee, elected in 2011, is a writer, photographer, and community advocate who was born in Boston. She went to private schools in Roxbury that were full of culture and creativity. Toni's father had a fondness for words, which gave her the foundation for poetry; and her mother's joy for community planted the seed for Bee's advocacy.
Toni began writing poetry in high school at age 15 with her friend Catherine "Anita" Stinson. Anita urged her to try new books and read poetry. This along with a love for Shakespeare and Langston Hughes encouraged her to write. Bee became a freelance journalist for community newspapers after high school and covered news about colorful people and artists in Dorchester. While in college she created a writing club and held seasonal poetry readings.
Bee says she writes wherever she goes. Writing sustained her during her stint in a homeless shelter when she was pregnant with her daughter. Bee moved to Cambridge in 2004 and continued publishing news in the Cambridge Chronicle and kept writing and performing poetry whenever she could. Toni continues to publicize artsy events and people. She currently hosts a live TV show called "BeLive with Bee" on Cambridge Community Television (CCTV).
Toni is excited to connect with community as Cambridge Poet Populist. Her hope is to inspire others in some small way. She believes strongly in educational opportunities, no matter what age you are, and in the importance in leading a healthy life. She says that these two elements are essential in the pursuit of one's dreams-no matter what "drama" happens in your life.