A nationally respected hip hop artist and mentor from Plymouth, Tobi Gorniak MBE has been awarded Local Legend status by the National Lottery for his work in transforming the lives of young people through the power of hip hop culture, music and dance.
My name is Toby G. MBE. I'm a hip hop artist. I'm the artistic director of Street Factory.
My real name is Tobiasz Zobar Gorniak, but I just call myself Toby G. I was born in Poland and I’m a Roma Gypsy. I've travelled around many beautiful places and England right now is what I call home. My job, I would call myself a hip hop artist. I deliver work for the community, and I use hip hop to do so. I guide, support, and encourage. I’m a dance teacher, educator, mentor, lots of things. My current location is Plymouth. I moved to the UK in 2001 with my family. We came here and then we came to Plymouth.
Community to me means people family, unity, love, care, support, encouragement, building each other, just being there for one another. That's what community means to me. One thing I'm really proud of for my community is the love they have for one another because I remember a day I wasn't in, I wasn't feeling too great. There were other people in the space of new people who turned up and then those other people, when I came back, told me what happened. They said “they were so lovely, they were so caring, they were so gentle with us”. To me, it was one of the most beautiful things. I've taught them how to love and give love, and they did and it was the most beautiful experience for me.
So when I hear that more people are sharing that love and that care for one another, it's one of the best things you could ever feel and experience.
There were a few occasions and a few moments in my life that happened when I felt I belong to the community. The first thing I think happened was when I met my wife, she gave me a hug just as a friend and that made me believe that there's good people out there, there's good human beings. That kind of gave me hope from that hope. We started delivering workshops and travelling around the country doing stuff and was like, wow, there's more hope, there's more love, there's more care. Then I started opening my own company. Me and my wife decided to set up this whole place to do what we do and then we realised I am at home. This is my life. This is my home.
I chose to be an ambassador for International Migrants Day because I truly believe in positive stories and positive role models. The more I share with people, the beautiful things we've done here, we’ve achieved or inspire more and other people to do similar things and to spread so much more love in the world. I'm super excited to be an ambassador to share that message. I just want to say thank you, peace and love you.