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African American Cultural Celebration 2021 Videos

Shawn Etheridge, painting  

Shawn Etheridge sees potential in a blank canvas—a chance to tell a story, capture a moment, honor a legacy. In one of his popular painting series, the Elizabeth City native pays tribute to the state’s 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Although the scenes are easily identified, Etheridge often leaves his subjects’ faces blank, to allow viewers to picture themselves in the paintings.
Run time: 5 mins [CC]

Pinkie Strother, miniatures and clay figurines

Fuquay-Varina artist Pinkie Strother creates miniature displays that combine art and history. Shaping the clay that forms the basis of her figures connects Strother to her past, when she would sink her hands in the cool, white clay of the creek bed near her childhood home. Watch the acclaimed sculptor create unique pieces of art that recount history –like the 1963 March on Washington or everyday memories from her own life.
Run time: 5 mins [CC]

Neal Thomas, white-oak basketmaking

For nearly 50 years Neal Thomas has been making baskets out of white-oak trees that grow near his home in Wendell, North Carolina. Thomas doesn’t purchase his supplies online or at a local craft store, instead, he sources all his materials by hand. Follow along as he shares the process of creating a classic, hand-made basket—from selecting the tree to cutting the wood to weaving the strips.
Run time: 7 min [CC]

Hungry for Success: How an Ex-Worker Turned Entrepreneur Opened Two Pizza Shops   

Presenter: Efrem Yates, Proprietor, Your Pie LLC
Kinston, N.C. native Efrem Yates has always been interested in owning his own business. With the opening of two franchises in Wake County, he is well on his way. Yates shares the keys to his success, from the inspiration of childhood mentors to the challenges of adapting to curbside during COVID-19 to the value of making a difference in his community.
Run time: 36 mins [CC]

Jonkonnu at Tryon Palace

Jonkonnu, (pronounced John Canoe) is an African American holiday celebration whose roots trace back to Jamaica and to West African slave ships. Participants, dressed in masks and multi-colored costumes, traveled door to door clapping, singing, and dancing. The parade performed at each house until the homeowners came outside to greet the revelers and pay them coins. Historical records mention Jonkonnu celebrations taking place near Edenton, N.C., as early as 1824. 

Today, you can enjoy Jonkonnu performances at Tryon Palace in New Bern, N.C. Jonkonnu has traditionally been a part of the AACC opening procession, and we are pleased to have them as part of the 20th anniversary event. Video courtesy of Tryon Palace. Run time: 5:24 [CC]

North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers

Enjoy a series of storytelling vignettes presented by members of the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers (NCABS). Storytelling is an art form that embodies the history and cultures of Africans and African Americans. NCABS preserves, protects, and passes on the historical truths, folklore, legends, myths, and fables important to African American traditions. NCABS members represent the entire state of North Carolina; they hail from the Smokey Mountains to the Outer Banks. 

Run time: 40:42 [CC]



From Slavery to Freedom in Surry County 

Presenter: Dr. Evelyn Thompson, Mt. Airy, N.C.
After her father passed, Dr. Evelyn Thompson realized she knew very little about his family–not even the names of his parents. Determined to find answers to her questions, Thompson undertook a journey of discovery that culminated in West Africa with a trip to Ghana. One of 13 children raised in Surry County, NC, Dr. Thompson shares stories about her family and their role in the community.  
Run time: 30 mins [OC - open captioning]