Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Local LGBTQ+ icon Dr. C.C. Carter returns to Chicago in a new position
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2016 times since Thu Sep 1, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Dr. Carla "C.C." Carter is back.

After being away for a few years and embarking on a few adventures (like graduating from seminary school), Carter—an acclaimed writer, poet, and performer—is back in Chicago as managing director of the Beverly Arts Center. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame honoree recently talked with Windy City Times about adjusting to her new role, being in the LGBT Hall of Fame, and noticing the differences between where she was and where she is now.

Windy City Times: You've been away for a few years—and you were in Arkansas, correct?

Dr. Carla "C.C." Carter: Correct. So, a lot of people don't know that I left [Chicago] specifically because my father has passed away, and my parents had retired there. My family had contacted me, saying my mother wasn't doing well. So [partner] Ronnie [Fortenberry] and I went down there to visit and realized she wasn't doing well. Then, Ronnie said, "You only get one mom if you're lucky" so we dropped everything and [moved] there.

For the first year and a half, my [employer] here didn't want to lose me so I'd spend two weeks in Chicago and two weeks back in Arkansas. After that, I became a consultant at Philander Smith College. From there, the president saw I had been a teacher so I became an instructor there. Then I co-wrote an application for a $900,000 grant and became department chair for visual and performing arts.

WCT: But you also went to seminary.

Carter: Yes. So I graduated from Jacksonville Theological Institute, but it was the Christian education part of teaching, not necessarily seminary.

WCT: Okay. I think different people have different ideas of what is involved with attending such a school. What did you learn?

Carter: So it was no-brainer, actually. I was looking to get my doctorate in the arts, and I also wanted to be in a space that affirmed all of my intersections. And I'm also a PK [preacher's kid]…

WCT: You and Grace Jones.

Carter: [Laughs] Yes—THAT kind of PK. Those who saw me on stage would say, "Wait-what?" [Both laugh.] But there's something very spiritual in the erotic so, to me, they coincide.

But this school had one of the few programs that was hybrid even back then [in the 2010s] so I could do it online. I had to travel to defend my dissertation but it was a path I really liked because I could incorporate the counseling component with vocational discernment. I wanted to not bring a religious vibe to the classroom, but bring a practical and spiritual approach. My doctorate is in Christian education, with an emphasis in educational leadership. I recommend it to anyone who's thinking about going.

WCT: Let's talk about Beverly Arts Center and your role.

Carter: Growing up in Roseland and Chatman, Beverly was like Oak Park/River Forest for the South Side; it's where Black upper- and middle-class folk lived—although there was the Great Migration to places like Beverly and Mt. Greenwood. The center was a place where you got your formal introduction to the fine arts: dance, theater and visual arts. It's one of the few community art spaces that's not specific to one genre; we specialize in all the major art forms.

Everybody here now is new. Our artistic director, Kevin Pease, is dynamic; he graduated from Northwestern. There is a full professional theatrical program, unlike what you'd find at a community theater. Our actors are getting paid and we're focusing on Chicago stories, directors and artists.

And my job is managing director so we co-lead the organization. It's working on fiscal management, grant writing and development, and marketing.

WCT: I didn't realize—and I'm not sure you know—that it's been exactly 20 years since you were inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.

Carter: Oh, my goodness. I didn't know!

WCT: What do you remember about that night in 2002?

Carter: I felt like Sally Field: "You like me. You really do like me!" [Both laugh.]

Honestly, I was just doing the work I loved—and to be recognized for doing spoken-word poetry and being part of A Real Read and for doing the work I was doing on the South Side for LGBTQ folk… We had the first all-lesbian and transgender Vagina Monologues and I had just written a book of poetry. To be recognized for doing that is something I will always cherish. I still have the award.

Twenty years—wow… I was 38 when I got that; I'm 58 now.

WCT: So my last question is something I've asked a lot of different people. Over the past two years, we've all had to deal with COVID and quarantining, we've seen the George Floyd murder and experienced the aftermath, and we've had a lot of time to think. What did you learn about yourself?

Carter: Hmmm… I'm back in Chicago so that should tell you something.

So Arkansas was interesting, and being in Little Rock was even more. In New York and Chicago, where I spent my formative year, and being able to hold my partner's hand in public, I was able to be a vocal and unapologetic Black woman. Being in the pandemic exacerbated all the pressures I felt about the intersections that I felt before it. It was unsettling to see and feel the silencing of Black folk during the time of Black Lives Matter, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In Arkansas, very few people were vocal.

It was quite unsettling to see the proliferation of Trump ads. I had never been in a space like that. However, I'm grateful for that experience because I saw what real advocates had and have to deal with in spaces like that to make even the smallest impact.

I think about Chris Jones, a graduate of Morehouse, who is running for governor in [Arkansas] now. People think he doesn't have a chance; maybe he doesn't, but what we isn't afraid to do is bring the issues of the people to the forefront. That is huge right now.

But I also think about the trigger states and Roe v. Wade. Arkansas [has] all three abortion bans—whether the mother's life is in danger, or if incest or rape is involved. So some forward-thinking people, including myself, bought Plan B; I was going to give it to the nurses in my school—but the nurse cannot accept it. So there are repercussions for Black, Brown and poor people; Arkansas is one of the few states in which there are more poor white people than people of color.

So you have all that—abortion, the pandemic, the NRA—was starting to build. In essence, I needed my later years to be my greater years. And when I needed it, this job came along on Indeed. Last year, I said, "God, for me to move back to Chicago, I need a job that wouldn't have me go downtown every day. It has to be perfect arts-related job that's financially sustainable because the snow in Chicago is no joke." [Laughs] I pushed the "Send" button on Sunday and I got a call that Tuesday for an interview; [soon after,] I was offered the position. I have been ecstatic.

Some of the programs taking place at the Beverly Arts Center this season include The Fantastics, The Christmas Schooner and A Raisin in the Sun. More about Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., is at .

This article shared 2016 times since Thu Sep 1, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Brittney Griner, wife expecting first baby
Brittney Griner is expecting her first child with wife Cherelle Griner. According to NBC News, the couple announced on Instagram that they are expecting their baby in July. "Can't believe we're less than three months away ...

Gay News

ART Thousands attend EXPO CHICAGO at Navy Pier
EXPO CHICAGO: The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art drew thousands when it was held April 11-14 at Navy Pier, as the event continued to expand the parameters of the meaning of art. The exhibit—the ...

Gay News

Through a queer lens: Photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya discusses Chicago exhibition
Paul Mpagi Sepuya is a photographer whose works incorporate several elements, including history, literary modernism and queer collaboration. The art of Sepuya—who is also an associate professor in visual arts ...

Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison announces inaugural Cook County LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition
--From a press release - Schaumburg, Ill. — April 9, 2024 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison recently announced the firs ever LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition. The competition's theme is "Pride is Power!" and will set the ton for Pride celebrations ...

Gay News

Lesbian prime minister steps down
Ana Brnabic—the first woman and the first lesbian to hold the office of prime minister of Serbia, or to be a leader of any Eastern European country—has stepped down after seven years in power, in a ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks nominations for 2024 induction
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has announced a call for nominations for the 2024 class of inductees into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Those wishing to may nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, or "Friends of ...

Gay News

HRC president responds to NAIA vote to ban transgender women from playing sports
--From a press release - WASHINGTON —Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, responded to the National Association of ...

Gay News

Open Space Arts's COCK offers a complex but compelling take on relationships
By Brian Kirst - Premiering in 2009, Mike Bartlett's COCK was a comic revelation, exploring notions about fluidity and sexual labelling long before they became commonplace discussions. Granted, conversations about these issues will always ...

Gay News

Ella Matthes, award-winning publisher, editor of Lesbian News Magazine, dies at 81
--From an ILDKMedia press release - Los Angeles, CA - Ella Matthes, longtime publisher and editor of Lesbian News Magazine, passed away from a heart attack on March 16, 2024 at The Little Company of Mary hospital in Norwalk, California. She was ...

Gay News

WORLD Lesbian sniper, HIV research, marriage items, Chinese singer, Korean festival
A lesbian Ukrainian sniper and her machine-gun-toting girlfriend are taking the fight to Russia President Vladimir Putin, according to a Daily Beast article. Olga—a veterinarian-turned-soldier—said her comrades don't care about ...

Gay News

City Lit Executive Artistic Director Brian Pastor talks theater, comics, queerness
City Lit Theater has announced its programming for the 2024-25 season—which will be the company's 44th. It will also be the first season to be programmed under the leadership of Brian Pastor (they/them), who will assume ...

Gay News

Kara Swisher talks truth, power in tech at Chicago Humanities event
Lesbian author, award-winning journalist and podcast host Kara Swisher spoke about truth and power in the tech industry through the lens of her most recent book, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story, March 21 at First ...

Gay News

Jamie Barton brings nuances of identity to her Lyric Opera 'Aida' performance
Chicago's Lyric Opera is currently featuring a production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida starring Michelle Bradley as Aida, Jamie Barton as Amneris and Russell Thomas as Radamès. The opera runs through April 7, 2024, with Francesca Zambello ...

Gay News

Almost 8% of U.S. residents identify as LGBTQ+
The proportion of U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQ+ continues to increase. LGBTQ+ identification in the U.S. continues to grow, with 7.6% of U.S. adults now identifying as LGBTQ+, according to the newest Gallup poll results that ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, 'P-Valley,' Wendy Williams, Luke Evans, 'Queer Eye,' 'Transition'
Lady Gaga came to the defense of Dylan Mulvaney after a post with the trans influencer/activist for International Women's Day received hateful responses, People Magazine noted. On Instagram, Gaga stated, "It's appalling to me that a ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.