I Am Queen Charlotte, live at the Belk Theater on March 6, is the kickoff event to Queen Charlotte Week which will run through March 12. The city-wide celebration includes a curated series of engaging arts and education events for all ages around the Queen City and will feature a multi-platform experience that centers and celebrates the lives, stories, and contributions of Black Women in Charlotte.
Named after Britain’s first Black queen, Charlotte is a city with an abundance of history and story. I Am Queen Charlotte is an initiative launched by AboutFace Charlotte in partnership with local writer and storyteller Hannah Hasan to uncover and document the stories of some of the beautiful Black women who have helped to crown Charlotte as queen.
“Queen Charlotte Week is about exploring and celebrating the rich history of our city through the lens of those whose stories and contributions have thus far been overlooked,” said Hasan. “Through the written word, spoken word, art, music, and more, we are inviting Charlotteans who want to deepen their understanding of the present by exploring this history with us through many different angles. Our multi-platform events across Charlotte has something for everyone.”
In addition to the weeklong series of events, I Am Queen Charlotte will publish a large-format documentary book of stories and portraits of Black Women in Charlotte that will serve as a living history document to be housed at the Mint Museum. The books will also be available to the public and can serve as an educational tool for community organizations and educators.
For the book, Hasan interviewed over 50 women and wrote intimate and intricate stories that shed light on the lives, work, contributions, and human experience of these dynamic women. They have worked and built businesses, loved and lost, served politically and professionally, worshiped, started families, cared for loved ones, thrived through good times, and found ways to survive through tragedies.
Music will be provided by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and the show will be directed by Broadway veteran Benjamin Endsley Klein. The week following will be filled with art, curriculum, and engagement opportunities with The Blumenthal, The Levine Museum of the New South, the Arts & Science Council, & more.
The week closes with the Queens of the City musical performance in the Knight Theater.
After Queen Charlotte Week, I Am Queen Charlotte will continue the conversation in the Charlotte community through a curriculum being designed by educational consultant Janeen Bryant to engage the public, schools, and corporations.
One thousand copies of the I Am Queen Charlotte book will be provided to students as part of the curriculum. There will also be a module available for groups and corporations to dive deeper into the history and contributions of Black Women in Charlotte.
For updated event information and registration details, visit IamQueenCharlotte.org and follow on Instagram @IAmQueenCLT.