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Lesbian Life Interview with C.C. Carter - Part 2

Poet and Performance Artist


Performance Artist C.C. Carter

Performance Artist C.C. Carter

Courtesy of C.C.Carter

Lesbian Life: Your grandmother was a big influence in your artistic life so, when you are doing your performances or writing your material so you think of her?

C.C. Carter:Absolutely, every time I am on the stage, in fact the piece that made me famous if you want to say that, or the piece that I am most know for, is called the “Her Story Of My Hips” and it’s about being full figured and having very large hips. I can trace my hips back five generations past slavery.

Do you have CDs out right now?

On my Facebook there are videos of me recently performing. I’m actually releasing a CD for pride called “Feeling Good” I’ve been performing works from it that I will probably have stuff up in the next week or two. My website is www.cccarter.com

How often do you travel?

It’s been real interesting because at first I guess about 10 years ago I use to travel a lot and then it was kind of like this…when slam poetry really hit hard and I stopped slamming there became this upsurge of slam poetry. Now what’s happened is my career kind of died down.

I really wanted to make sure that what I was doing captured academia. So I decided to really concentrate on submitting my work to ethnologies where the work will be taught in women studies, LGBT, and women of color classes. There has been this explosion in the last three years of people searching for me to find the work that I used to do around body politics to incorporate into their thesis or their syllabus. So what that made me do is really reevaluate my work from a slam kind of prospective because there really isn’t a way to sustain that on youtube or cd. Professors really haven’t caught up with social media to actually teach that way yet so and they are still using textbooks.

What is Slam Poetry C.C.?

As far as Slam poetry is concerned, you will know it when you hear it. Slam Poetry has elements of page poetry which is poetry that really resonates to you. Slam poetry doesn’t necessary lend itself to the page but can surely be a page poem and really works for the ear. It can be performed but it has elements of rhyming and rhythm that keeps the audience. It’s meant to be provoking to an audience. Usually they are written to be 3 to 4 minutes or under because they need to be judged and they are judged by audience members and usually for competition.

So are you doing any Slam Poetry now?

I don’t do slam poetry any more the reason is because I found that I could write a poem in three minutes or less and they all sounded the same, it’s just that the content was different. The more that I started getting booked to do performances that were longer than twenty minutes and I began to teach and my ear became a little bit more trained… well a lot more trained to hear, it became important to me to make sure that my audience always stayed with me. The only way you can do that is to break form and so therefore that particular form always lends itself to that media. Spoken word became a way to break the slam form but still be able to capture your audience’s attention and provoke an emotion. And then performance poetry takes it one step further which is that you can even take a page poem and add music to it or add movement to it and it becomes this whole other theatrical dynamic.

Were you recently out of the Country?

Yes, I was on the Olivia Cruise, I was on the Mexico Riviera and then after that I came back and went to North Carolina opening for Nikki Giovanni

Wow, that’s impressive, how was it opening for Nikki Giovanni?

That was amazing, I don’t even know what else to say (laughing). She wanted a copy of my poem…go figure.

Are you under management right now?

Yes, but right now I’ve been able to kind of manage myself. I like to pick and choose the audience I want to be in front of. I think it’s very helpful that I am a part-time teacher with the flexibility that if there is a gig I want to do I can go and do it. I don’t spend my whole time performing, I do a lot of production work in Chicago and run my own non- profit. I also have an agent, I am with Out Media out of Brooklyn New York, they are the number one LGBT talent agency in the Country. I am linked in the women’s music circuit, women’s coffee houses and book stores and so when I perform around the city, word of mouth will travel I’ll be at the Michigan music festival for the National Women’s Festival, I’m doing black prides in the Dominican Republic and then recently I just finished doing the Olivia Cruise Line.

Are you lesbian?

Yes I am a high maintenance femme. I’m sure my hersband is saying “I will second the motion” ( LL and CC laughing).
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