I Am Queen: Charlotte Returns

Aug 24, 2022 / Blog

(August 23 2022) Charlotte, NC – Blumenthal Performing Arts and Charlotte International Arts Festival (CIAF) along with Epoch Tribe present I Am Queen: Charlotte, a multi-platform experience that centers on and celebrates the lives, stories, and contributions of Black women in the community. The program is built around a gathered history of narratives from women in Charlotte by poet and master storyteller Hannah Hasan. Part of the inaugural CIAF, the event will take place live on stage at the Knight Theater on October 1, 2022. Tickets are $19.50. More information is at charlotteartsfest.com.


Sisters and storytellers Hannah and Shardae Hasan are Epoch Tribe, planners and executers of events and classes that center the arts and social and cultural consciousness. I Am Queen: Charlotte launched in March 2021 as part of Queen Charlotte week, a citywide celebration of Black women in Charlotte. The program is built around a gathered history of narratives from women in the community that are shared live, in person, and on stage. The event features the narratives of real Black women who call Charlotte home in a unique hybrid of storytelling, music, movement, and acting, with an all Black woman cast, as adapted by poet, master storyteller, and Epoch Tribe co-founder Hannah Hasan.


The show is composed of 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.


“With the first I Am Queen: Charlotte show, we brought together the community by creating a movement over the span of a whole week involving individual artists, nonprofits, and corporate partners. Even greater an accomplishment than that, we brought people to the theater who haven’t always felt reflected in the stories on stage. We’re most proud that I Am Queen: Charlotte brought a line of people that wrapped around the block to the doors of the Belk Theater, many of whom don’t regularly attend or had never even been in a theater before our show,” says Hannah Hasan. “With the support of Blumenthal through CIAF, Epoch Tribe is redefining what it looks like to engage with traditionally marginalized communities in arts and theater.”


Hannah Hasan_photo credit Jessica Dunston.jpg

(Hannah Hasan)


The I Am Queen model is one that Blumenthal hopes to expand to communities nationwide.  


“What Hannah and Shardae Hasan have created with I Am Queen: Charlotte is magic on the Blumenthal stage,” says Blumenthal CEO Tom Gabbard. “The stories they tell are real, they are important reflections of a vital part of not only our community in Charlotte, but Black communities everywhere. Our goal is to share the concept for local communities across the country to magnify the stories of their Black women, to offer a unique platform for those women whose stories deserve to be told. We are hoping that I Am Queen… will act as a blueprint for the program nationwide.”


In addition to the weeklong series of events in March 2021, I Am Queen: Charlotte published a large-format documentary book of stories and portraits of Black Women in Charlotte that serve as a living history document housed at the Mint Museum. Since Queen Charlotte Week, I Am Queen: Charlotte continues the conversation in the Charlotte community through a curriculum being designed by educational consultant Janeen Bryant to engage the public, schools, and corporations. Five hundred copies of the I Am Queen: Charlotte book have been provided to students as part of the curriculum, and teachers received state curriculum compliant lesson plans to bring the information to the classroom. A public module is available for groups and corporations to dive deeper into the history and contributions of Black Women in Charlotte.


For more information, visit charlotteartsfest.com.






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