The Queen City Kaleidoscope: The Colorful Side of Charlotte

By Shawn Allison

June 8, 2023

Greetings to all! My name is Shawn Allison, better known to many in Charlotte as The Black Ferris Bueller. As a resident of this great city for over 20 years, I’ve highlighted community events for over a decade by keeping my heart and mind open to new experiences and people. My new events column with CLTure, the Queen City Kaleidoscope, explores the colorful side of Charlotte events each month. With an aim to find the soul of our community and shed light on it, the Queen City Kaleidoscope will keep you abreast of all Charlotte has to offer from food, music, dance, and more.

Detroit ´67 

June 2-11 at Theatre Charlotte 

Tickets: $15 (students) $30 (adults) 

MacArthur Fellowship recipient, playwright and actor, Dominique Morisseau’s powerful production, Detroit ´67, will play at Theatre Charlotte this month. Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, the thought-provoking story follows two siblings running an after-hours juke joint in their basement to make ends meet. Set during a tumultuous time in American history (the 1967 Detroit Riot), the play directed by UNCC Professor of Acting Ron McClelland, runs through June 11. The riveting story also features a soundtrack with several iconic Motown tracks. 

Dominique Morisseau’s powerful production, Detroit ´67, directed by Ron McClelland will play at Theatre Charlotte through June 11. 

Eat Black Charlotte Food & Culture Festival

Saturday, June 10 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Victoria Yards

Tickets: $10 plus

Eat Black Charlotte Week will feature over 25 participating Charlotte-area Black-owned restaurants offering prix fixe menus and deals for lunch and dinner. The community-centered week will culminate with a cultural festival and block party on Saturday, June 10 at Victoria Yards in Uptown featuring the best Black-owned food trucks in the city, a DJ, and fun activities for the kids. 

Off the Wall! “New Jack Swing Edition V.3”

Saturday, June 10 from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. at IV Stones Event Center

Tickets: $15 plus

The infamous JETA Team is back with Off The Wall: “New Jack Swing Edition, V.3.” An assemblage of Charlotte-based DJs, Chief Rocka Aking Allah, DJ Chance and the fly girl DJ Danielle Kharman, the event will take your ears back to the years of 1987 to 1994 with hits, remixes, B-sides, and album cuts from the storied New Jack era with Guy, Teddy Riley, Bobby Brown, New Edition, Keith Sweat, and many more.

HeroesCon Kick-Off Party 

Thursday, June 15 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Super Abari Game Bar 

Tickets: $10 plus 

CLTure and Super Abari Game Bar have joined forces to bring a superhero soiree of epic proportions. Enjoy a night of classic video games, food trucks, local vendors, comic book art, a photo booth, and musical performances by Moon Man, Natalie Carr, and Jack the Radio. Katsu Kart will be on site with their delicious Japanese sandwiches (sandos), AhaanLao Food Truck will dish up traditional Lao/Thai street food fare, and Boba Baba Cafe will be serving refreshing teas and lattes. Each ticket purchase also includes entry into a raffle for a chance to win two tickets to the Marvel Exhibit at Discovery Place Science. 

Juneteenth Jam 2023 

Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Levine Avenue 

Tickets: Free 

It’s time to sound the alarms for freedom at the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Jam. Bring out the entire tribe for a free day of non-stop fun with music, art, history, eats and more creative treats for your senses. Created by Boris “Bluz” Rogers in collaboration with Blumenthal Performing Arts, Gantt Center, Mint Museum and the Bechtler, the event showcases Charlotte’s artistic depth as world-class musicians and artisans of all flavors take the stage to give your Juneteenth some soul. 

CineOdyssey Film Festival 2023 Showcase 

June 16, 17, and 30 at Independent Picture House 

Tickets: Free to $12 

The CineOdyssey Film Fest is adding some movie magic to your summer with a series of film screenings this month. First up, on Friday, June 16, witness the wonder of the animated film, Nayola, “a thrilling story about the legacy of war uniquely told from a female perspective.” On Saturday, June 17, there will be a special 50th anniversary screening of the acclaimed documentary, Wattstax. Based on the 1972 benefit concert organized by the fabled Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 riots in Watts, the film features performances by Isaac Hayes, The Staples Singers, Johnnie Taylor, and Richard Pryor. On Friday, June 30, CineOdyssey Next will showcase some of the festival’s most heralded short films with select producers and directors in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. 

Art After Dark: Hip Hop Turns 50 

Friday, June 16 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Harvey B. Gantt Center 

Tickets: Free 

On June 16, the Harvey B. Gantt Center hosts an evening celebrating one of Black culture’s greatest creations: hip-hop. Although four hours could never do justice to the immeasurable impact of this nuanced cultural phenomenon, the night will offer dance, live music, analysis, conversation, hands-on art, and more. Experiences include the “Gantt Center Hip Hop Awards,” where they will recognize historic artists and events, such as “Best Rapper Alive” and “Most Iconic Moment.” The winners will be selected by the community through an online survey. The night culminates with a rooftop party pitting old school hip-hop vs. new school spanning the last five decades. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed “creatively honoring” hip-hop fashion from the ‘70s to the 2000s. 

Art After Dark: Hip Hop Turns 50 takes place on Friday, June 16 at Harvey B. Gantt Center. 

Fresh2Death: It’s Giving Ballroom 

Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Harvey B. Gantt Center 

Tickets: Free 

Dupp & Swat continues to shake, quake and disturb the peace with the third installment of their Fresh2Death series. In this episode, step inside a world where struts take center stage, fashion is the hottest rage, and fierce expression cannot be held in a cage. There will be a full day of activities including a rooftop drag brunch, a fashion show, panel discussions, art exhibitions, a grand Kiki Ball, and more. 

Durag Festival 

Saturday, June 24 from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Camp North End 

Tickets: $40 plus 

It’s time to get that hair in order and have your head garments flying in the wind with pride at Durag Fest 2023. Attendees can expect a featured art exhibit curated by Blkmrktclt, a fashion show, skate party, food trucks, vintage market, Y2K hair salon, a kids play zone, a wave check contest for the tightest flows of follicles, and much more. Guest performances from local artists and DJs will include Ron Styles, See Bird Go, DJ Phalse ID, Kyle Genesis, B-Man, Tonto Vicious, and Micki Blendz. 

Serving The Culture presents…GET CRUNK!

Sunday, June 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Lenny Boy Brewing Co. 

Tickets: $150 

Lenny Boy Brewing Co. will be lively for this iteration of Serving The Culture as they proudly invite you to get crunk. Serving The Culture is a collective of award-winning Charlotte-area chefs and mixologists who showcase the brilliance of the African diaspora through food and drink. Enjoy a multi-course meal blending eclectic comfort foods and cocktails with the hard-hitting, trunk-rattling sounds of late ‘90s to early 2000s Southern hip-hop.

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