Story by Courtney Hancock
Courtney Hancock is a Baltimore native who studies digital media at Elizabeth City State University, where she is a rising senior. She is a multimedia content creator who hosts the radio show Soul Café & Sunday Vibes, on WRVS-FM, and Young Everyday Black Woman, a weekly podcast she created to have conversations about social issues, Black culture, relationships, and self-care.
This summer, Courtney worked with the North Carolina Arts Council as an arts administration intern. Inspired by our Spark the Arts campaign, she curated a list of artworks and projects made by North Carolina women whose ideas connect to the themes of our campaign—vitality, fellowship, and healing—and to her podcast Young Everyday Black Woman.
Explore her list below.
“Anxious” by Jewel Ham
Jewel Ham, of Huntersville, is a multimedia visual artist who “aims to undress the emotional realities that often accompany various facets of ‘everyday’ Black Life.” Ham beautifully and emotively captures the stories and experiences of the Black women she paints. Her painting Anxious captured my attention because it captures how a woman’s mind can be everywhere at once. This painting depicts an emotional reality many women can relate to.
“We Do Not Lay Down and Die” by Alexandra Joye-Warren
Washington, D.C., native Alexandra Joye Warren lives in Greensboro. She founded the Joyemovement Dance Company, and her work as a dancer and choreographer speaks to me. I feel the emotion and the story she wants to tell with every step she takes and every move she makes. In her performance “We Do Not Lay Down and Die,” she is telling viewers to keep pushing and striving to make a difference and to make your dreams a reality. That is a message I believe many women need, and it’s one I tell my listeners constantly on my podcast.
“Bronx Shēk” by Linda Orji
Linda Orji is a New York native who lives in Gastonia. She is a spoken word artist and author of the book The Soul Survivor. Orji’s piece “Bronx SHēk” aligns well with my podcast. Throughout the performance, Orji says women need to pick up their crowns and wear them well and stop letting negativity and bad energy affect how they live our lives. The line “I am reclaiming my elegance as woman” resonated with me. We women, especially Black women, need to allow ourselves to stop being “hard.” We need to start acting like the queens we are, no matter what environment or situation we are in. Linda Orji speaks truth to women, and I love that.
“21 Times” by LaVeen “Ven” Swain
Rapper Ven is a native of Ahoskie who lives in Elizabeth City. Her music highlights love, heartbreak, and the experiences of women. Her song “21 Times” is one of my favorites. In it, she raps about defining her worth on her own terms after heartbreak: “Took you off your high and brought you down to Earth / All because you didn’t understand your worth / And now you gotta build up your confidence / Find out who you are and stay positive.” Learning your worth is important, and it can take time for women to get there. Ven acknowledges the struggle, and also the value and potential of reaching that comfortable place. Ven’s music is vulnerable and relatable, and “21 Times” is a song women can turn to for healing and inspiration.
“Chinese Girl Wants Vote” by Jinna Kim
Jinna Kim is a Korean-American artist from Charlotte. By day, she works for Bank of America as a senior vice-president who works on patents. In her free time, she is a filmmaker, model, and actress. In 2020, Kim released “Chinese Girl Wants Vote,” a documentary-style short film about Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, a lesser-known suffragist who fought for women’s right to vote in the United States. Kim made this short in response to anti-Asian sentiment that flared during the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-minute film is a beautiful tribute to woman of color who worked to advance equality for all in this country during an era of blatant discrimination. Kim is creating work that helps us understand where we have come from and where we’re going.
Watch the film here.
Skie’s Art Lounge, by Jasmine Skie Harris
Calling Jasmine Skie Harris “creative” is an understatement. Art sets the tone for everything she does. Harris is an elementary school art teacher and the owner of Skie’s Art Lounge, an arts center and shop in Elizabeth City where she sells her own art supply line. Skie’s Art Lounge is a space for couples, friends, family, and even co-workers to come together and celebrate or just relax in the name of art. I brag on women who create spaces for people to gather and express themselves. At Skie’s Art Lounge, you express yourself through art in painting classes, workshops, and more.