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North Carolina to Honor African American Artists, Musicians During Black History Month Reception on Thursday

Raleigh

In celebration of Black History Month, Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper will honor African American musicians and artists from North Carolina at a reception at the Executive Mansion beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.  

“Black History Month is a time to reflect on the deep contributions made by African Americans to the life and culture of our state and our nation,” said Gov. Cooper. “This year, we will recognize African American artists, musicians, and writers with ties to North Carolina whose work has enriched our lives and expanded our understanding.”

Gov. Cooper has proclaimed February as Black History Month in North Carolina.

The event is hosted by the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Attendees will include Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, Chair, N.C. African American Heritage Commission; and Tracey Burns, Asst. Secretary for Diversity and Cultural Inclusion, DNCR.

The event is open to credentialed media and will take place at the Executive Mansion, located at 200 N. Blount St. in Raleigh.

North Carolinians being honored on Thursday include:
 
Music 
•    Fantasia Barrino (Mecklenburg County, NC) | R & B singer and Broadway performer
•    Pastor Shirley Caesar (Wake County, NC) | Renowned gospel artist 
•    Maestro William Henry Curry (Durham County, NC) | Conductor and arts advocate
•    Carroll Dashiell (Pitt County, NC) | Jazz musician, composer, conductor and jazz educator
•    Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit (Durham County) | Rapper, producer and educator 
•    Roberta Flack (Buncombe County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning R & B artist
•    Rhiannon Giddens (Guilford County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning vocalist and musician
•    Dick Knight (Lenoir County, NC) | Musician and educator 
•    Bill Myers (Wilson County, NC) | Musician, bandleader and educator 
•    Sister Lena Mae Perry (Johnston County, NC) | Traditional gospel singer, member of the Branchettes 
•    Larry Reni Thomas (Orange County, NC) | Radio host, jazz writer and jazz scholar
•    Joe Thompson—posthumous (Alamance County, NC) | Fiddler and old-time musician
•    Mary D. Williams (Durham County, NC) | Singer, educator and scholar of Civil Rights-era songs

Visual Art
•    Ernie Barnes—posthumous (born in Durham County, NC) | Acclaimed painter
•     Endia Beale (Forsyth County, NC) | Award-winning photographer and Director, Diggs Gallery at WSSU 
•    Dare Coulter (Wake County, NC) | Muralist, sculptor and illustrator
•    Dr. Linda Dallas (Wake County, NC) | Watercolor artist and food illustrator
•    Olivia Gatewood (Durham County, NC) | Visual artist
•    Vandorn Hinnant (Guilford County, NC) | Visual Artist, educator and poet
•    Beverly McIver (Guilford County, NC) | Visual artist
•    Antoine Williams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Mixed-media artist and educator

Craft & Folk Traditions

•    Jerome Bias (Alamance County, NC) | Craftsman and foodways preservationist
•    Sharon Bryant (Craven County, NC) | Heritage practitioner critical to preserving ancestral African American music and dance traditions, specifically the Jonkonnu tradition
•    Kisha Kinard (Pender County, NC) | Craftswoman renowned for preserving the Gullah-Geechee tradition of sweetgrass basketry
•    Ben Watford (Craven County, NC) | Potter, storyteller and educator

Arts Advocacy
•    Congresswoman Alma Adams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Arts advocate
•    Simona Atkins Allen (Forsyth County, NC) | Founder, Delta Arts Center
•    Phyllis Coley (Wake County, NC) | Arts supporter
•    Patrick and Dr. Judy Diamond (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Art collectors

Film & Television
•    Shirlette Ammons (Durham County, NC) | Television producer, writer, musician and poet
•    Natalie Bullock-Brown (Wake County, NC) | Filmmaker
•    Lana Garland (Durham County, NC) | Documentarian, filmmaker and producer
•    Deborah Holt-Noel (Wake County, NC) | Producer and host, UNC-TV
•    Samm Art Williams (Forsyth County, NC) | Executive producer, “Martin” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
•    Kevin Wilson, Jr. (Durham County, NC) | Academy Award-nominated director, “My Nephew Emmett”

Literature
•    Dasan Ahanu (Christopher Massenburg) (Durham County, NC) | Poet
•    Gerald Barrax (Wake County, NC) | Poet and professor
•    Jaki Shelton Green (Alamance County, NC) | Poet, writer and educator; 9th NC Poet Laureate
•    Dr. Zelda Lockhart (Durham County, NC) | Writer and educator
•    Lenard Moore (Onslow County, NC) | Writer, educator, poet and renowned haikuist

Dance
•    Debra Austin (Forsyth County, NC) | Ballerina, Ballet Master, Carolina Ballet
•    Baba Chuck Davis—posthumous (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance preservationist
•    Tommy DeFrantz (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance scholar
•    Cara Hagan Gelber (Watauga County, NC) | Choreographer and educator
•    Mel Tomlinson (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Renowned dancer, choreographer and educator will be honored posthumously 
•    Wesley “Dr. Zulu” Williams (Guilford County, NC) | Breakdancer

Theatre
•    Jackie Alexander (Forsyth County, NC) | Director and playwright, Creative Director, NC Black Repertory Company 
•    Howard Craft (Durham County, NC) | Award-winning playwright
•    JaMeeka Holloway Burrell (Durham County, NC) | Playwright and director
•    Leon Hamlin and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin (Forsyth County, NC) | National Black Theatre Festival

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