BlackOutLoud Project Description

Black Out Loud, an exhibit curated by Cortland Gilliam and Jerry Wilson in collaboration with De'Ivyion Drew, aims to highlight the beauty and heterogeneity of Blackness in the context of a historically white, public university in the American South.

This collaborative art exhibition explores representations of Blackness within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community. The following projects are included in the exhibit:

Gillam and Wilson’s “…by a thread” is a documentary film project that illuminates the many ways that Black students, staff persons, faculty, administrators, and community members bear and resist the burdens of their respective histories while living and working in and around a historically White institution of higher education. It is a film about community by community. This film explores the experiences, realities, and dreams of Black people within the Carolina community, and examines notions of progress within the university’s history. By moving between structured interviews about moments and markers of progress to family-dinner style roundtable conversations - over meals provided by local Black restaurateurs - with segments of the Black community, the story investigates how representations of Black advancement at UNC-Chapel Hill (be they human or inanimate) are understood by the generations that have succeeded those responsible for bringing said markers to bear.

“Sankofa Collaborative on Lynching” is a portrait sculpture responding to the voices of the marginalized that are holding normalized oppressive practices accountable. With the momentum of the Movement for Black Lives, the time is now for black people to articulate their experiences in the fullness of length, depth, and brevity that it retains and to create spaces of liberated expression. This sculpture is a form of 'racial catharsis', which is a form of healing through release of tension and trauma that extends generations. For viewers of African descent who engage with the exhibit, my personal goal is that they feel that we have brought the invisible everyday burdens that are carried by African-Americans into visibility and recognition, rediscover their innate human worth beyond their labor value, and that they find their pathway to racial catharsis by engaging in liberatory organizations and individual radical self-care.

Group Members

  • Cortland Gilliam, Doctoral Candidate in Education at UNC
  • Jerry Wilson, Doctoral Candidate in Education at UNC
  • De'Ivyion Drew, Studio Art and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies undergraduate at UNC.