C.C. Carter is a Chicagoan with national prominence on the performance poetry scene. Her first book, Body Language, a collection of poetry, was nominated for a 2003 Lambda Literary Award. She is the winner of a host of poetry slams including winning the Fifth Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Competition and the First Annual Behind Our Masks Poetry Slam. She has created and maintained several traditions in the poetry community, including national and local poetry slams for people of color, and the women of color night at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse. She is a regular featured artist on Olivia Travel Vacations and has participated in hundreds of women’s music festivals, including the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, National Women’s Music Festival and has sold out performances on both coasts. Her performances have been earned her opening credits for Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Cheryl Clarke and Dorothy Allison and headlining credits on bills with Staceyann Chin, Alix Olson, and Andrea Gibson.
Social Justice and Activism
In 2003 C.C. founded POW-WOW, Inc., a weekly spoken word venue that has received honors and award recognition for being a safe space for women to develop, showcase and listen to other women artists. POW-WOW lasted ten years and is heralded as the longest running weekly Lesbian performance space in the country until she and the over 25 volunteers helped to restructure it to be come Quare Sqare for which C.C. Carter is happy to sit on the Board of Directors. C.C. has produced large-scale events for the Department of Cultural Affairs and was the Director of Culture for Chicago Gay Games VII.
Awards and Honors
As a result of her arts and activism work, she has received numerous awards and honors, including being inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for her work as an advocate in Arts and Culture 2002 and then in 2006 with the African-American LGBTQ Performance Ensemble A Real Read, and lastly in 2013 for the organization she founded POW-WOW, Inc (Performers or Writers for Women on Women’s Issues). Other awards include:
- 1998 Black Heat Award from Blacklines Magazine’s WordRising,
- 2004 Trailblazer Award for her work as curator of Lesbian theatre projects
- 2005 she was one of six international recipients to be dubbed the esteemed title by Eve Ensler of Vagina Warrior for her work in creating a safe space for women artists who are survivors of violence.
- 2006 Model of Hope Award by Pride and Equality Magazine.
- Ph. D in Christian Education from Jacksonville Theological Seminary,
- M.A. in Creative Writing from Queens College,
- B.A. from Spelman College in English Literature with a minor in Performing Arts.
Whether giving keynote performances on the complexities of the Marriage Equality act, performing at human rights rallies or presenting performance lectures on college and university campuses of the intersections of diversity, C.C. gives voice to her layered truths of being femme, lesbian, multicultural and a mother.
C.C. has three collections of poetry:
- Lambda Literary Nomination Best Lesbian Poetry 2003 – Body Language
- Chapbook – Letters to My Love
- Chapbook – Sonlight, The Poetic Diary of a First Time Mother
- Body Language: The Best of C.C. Carter
- Feelin’ Good
- Bedroom Whispers
- Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution
- Best Lesbian Erotica (two different editions),
- Does Your Mama Know,
- Best Black Women’s Erotica
- Dykes With Baggage
- Windy City Stories
- In The Spirit: African American LGBTQ talk about Spirituality
- Mighty Real
- Dykes on Mics
- OUTspoken! Your Silence Will Not Protect You
- Saved by a Poem