BOW TO THE QUEEN: “I Am Queen Charlotte” Rules This Week
Hannah Hasan, Scott Gardner and a host of other multimedia artists celebrate Black women from March 6 – 12. All are invited to join them.
“We went into this project with the desire to show and celebrate the stories of Black women. It was simply about visibility and creating space. It was to give air and energy to a different narrative. It was to highlight the beauty of the stories as a means to spotlight the beauty of the people. We hope that sticks. We hope that all in our city can find at least one way to see their own reflection within the stories.” – Hannah Hasan
What began as a coffee table book of stories and documentary-style images – a collaboration between Charlotte storyteller Hannah Hasan and photographer Scott Gardner – has transformed into a full-fledged, week-long, citywide celebration of and tribute to Black women through an array of free and ticketed events.
With two small arts-based organizations – Epoch Tribe and About Face Charlotte – at the helm, I Am Queen Charlotte (the book) has become Queen Charlotte Week, a massive collaboration involving individual artists and creatives, arts organizations of all sizes, small businesses and big corporations, a university, media partners and community-based nonprofits.
The full week of arts, culture and education begins March 6, with a production that features performances of some of the stories written for the book, I Am Queen Charlotte. This production, at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Belk Theater, includes a cast of all Black women actors and musical accompaniment by musicians from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Tickets range from $20 to $40. It’s the flagship event of a week that also includes a poetry slam, art walk, panel discussions and more.
Hasan is known locally and nationally for her work as a writer, spoken word performer, keynote speaker and stage show producer. Her work seeks to elevate the narratives of marginalized communities, but especially those of Black Americans. Gardner is a renowned photographer and documentary cinematographer, known for his TV and film work including projects for National Geographic and Netflix.
We asked Hassan about this massive undertaking.
Besides all the subjects of stories and photos being Black women, is there anything else that unites them?
There are many things that unite the Black women in this project. While Blackness is not a monolith, there are many threads that connect those of us living this Black experience in America. That extends to Charlotte.
There is a shared desire for this city to be the best city that it can be. Many of the women are working daily to make that happen. There is a prevailing spirit of deep love and appreciation for family and community shared amongst many of the women.
By far, one of the greatest connectors has been that of sisterhood. Most of the women shared stories with us about how other women have healed them, seen them, celebrated them and lifted them up in their times of need. That is the thin line that connects all. It’s always sisterhood.
What do you hope the impact of I Am Queen Charlotte will be?
We went into this project with the desire to show and celebrate the stories of Black women. It was simply about visibility and creating space. It was to give air and energy to a different narrative. It was to highlight the beauty of the stories as a means to spotlight the beauty of the people. We hope that sticks. We hope that all in our city can find at least one way to see their own reflection within the stories.
Beyond that, this project has become a collaborative effort between entities from many different corners of our city. It has connected arts organizations and artists in ways that really matter. It’s opened up the door for conversations about equitable funding. We are ushering in a new way of … being artists and culture bearers in Charlotte, and we hope that impact is felt and understood. We hope this opens the door for other creatives to do the same.
What does it mean to you to perform on a stage as large as the Blumenthal’s Belk Theater?
It’s beautiful. These stories, these actresses, this narrative deserves a big stage … We are going in with joy and intention and purpose. Performing on this stage sends a message that the stories of Black women are meant to be shared and celebrated in a huge, ornate and powerful way.
It’s important that we are on one of the biggest stages in Charlotte (the Belk Theater), and that this project is all Charlotte. It was written and directed and managed all by folks who call Charlotte home. It feels amazing.
Queen for a Week
More I Am Queen Charlotte Events
In addition to the signature event, I Am Queen Charlotte Live at the Belk Theater on Sunday, enjoy a week of other free and ticketed events – some live and some virtual – celebrating the stories, contributions and realities of Black women in Charlotte. Below are a few of our favorites. Click here or the button below for a full list of events.
I Am Queen Charlotte Live
March 6 at 7 p.m.
Belk Theater at 130 N. Tryon St.
Ticket prices begin at $20.
A week of activities launches with this signature event presented by LendingTree and Blumenthal Performing Arts. I Am Queen Charlotte Live” will celebrate the stories and lives of Black women in the Queen City with Black actresses performing with live music from the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Youth Orchestra. BUY TICKETS HERE.
Aftershocks of a Queen
March 7 at 11:30 a.m.
This is a free, virtual event.
Adding their perspective to the conversation, Community Building Initiative will use storytelling and community discussion about Queen Charlotte to explore the current realities of equity and how our community recommits, reconnects and rebuilds. MORE HERE.
Women of Words Poetry Slam
March 8 at 8 p.m.
Booth Playhouse, 130 N. Tryon St.
No admission fee; donations accepted.
This is a special Women’s History Month edition of Blumenthal Performing Arts’ monthly Poetry Slam series from three-time national slam champions, SlamCharlotte. MORE HERE.
Queens of the City
March 11 at 8 p.m.
Knight Theater at 430 S. Tryon St.
Ticket prices begin at $20
Emcee Ohavia Phillips and DJ Fannie Mae will lead a dynamic evening of live hip-hop and R&B performances from a collection of Charlotte’s most acclaimed women musicians, including Crystal Vision, Larissa Mia, Paulina Simone, Reccee Raps, TuKool Tif, Chocolate Kndy, J Macks and Sunshine Anderson. BUY TICKETS HERE.
Queen Charlotte Art Walk
March 12 at Noon and 2 p.m.
Five Points Area
Explore Charlotte while visiting murals created by Black Women artists in this tour developed in conjunction with ArtWalks CLT. Participants will hear stories of Black women in Charlotte’s history and be treated to stories from the artists who created the murals about their creative process and their inspiration.
Give Her Flowers
March 12 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Harvey B. Gantt Center
Tickets for children and students are $7; adult tickets are $9.
Join this discussion about the history and impact of Black women in the Queen City, as well as beyond our city’s boundaries. The event features a panel discussion, public photo shoot, hands-on art and live music for young girls and adults to reflect on the contributions Black women make to the world of arts and culture. BUY TICKETS HERE.
For information on all I Am Queen Charlotte events, click the button below.
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