What is it Going to Take? Amplifying African American Arts

What is it Going to Take? Amplifying African American Arts

In honor of Black History Month, join Levine Museum of the New South and Central Piedmont Community College for a program moderated by Dr. Corlis Hayes, celebrating local African American artists Arsena and Jermaine Nakia Lee. Learn about their journeys and experiences while creating and sharing their art in the Charlotte area. Enjoy special performances from our panelists and discover how you can also Amplify African Americans in Arts. 


ARSENA is an alternative R&B, folk, and jazz influenced recording artist and singer-songwriter. Born in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in Charlotte, NC, she’s known for her star-quality and heart felt tunes—-think India Arie meets Norah Jones with introspective lyrics infusing her multi-instrumentalist capabilities.

Over the years she’s released a number of records and accomplished much as an independent talent. This list includes touring nationally and internationally, an endorsement with Breedlove Guitars, & winning over hearts with a standing ovation from Michael Jordan at what’s now known as the Spectrum Arena. Today, Arsena is a Berklee College of Music Graduate Student currently on sabbatical from pursuing her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Music Studies. In 2017, she founded Dear Soul Music Co, an award-winning arts and entertainment company that provides community programming and resources for independent artists. Since its start, Arsena has serviced countless music artists in songwriting, branding, music production, youth recording arts camps, mentorship, and beginner guitar workshops for adults.

Her 3rd full-length album called Metamorphosis: The Evolution of Arsena produced by the Stellar-award winning, Curt Keyz, released in May 2023. You can learn more about Arsena at

Dr. Corlis Hayes (moderator) is a faculty member at Central Piedmont, where she teaches Communication and Play Production. She has directed the Central Piedmont production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Additionally, Corlis has directed shows for several theater companies in the Charlotte Community, including Brand New Sheriff’s productions of August Wilsons’ Jitney (Best Drama Creative Loafing 2017), Two Trains Running (MTA Best Drama 2019) and Fences ( Broadway World Best Director 2020).

Dr. Hayes has thoughtfully and intentionally made her mark by bringing excellence to the stage, challenging the status quo, and highlighting the African American experience.

Jermaine Nakia Lee studied Music Education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. After his studies at UNC Charlotte, Lee excelled as a Master Teaching Artist and Cultural Educator with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Levine Museum of the New South, Blumenthal Performing Arts, Arts & Science Council (ASC), Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art & Culture and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Mr. Lee is a critically-acclaimed and published playwright whose musicals FOR THE LOVE OF HARLEM and A WALK IN MY SHOES have enjoyed countless awards, sold out audiences and national tours.

Mr. Lee is Education/Outreach Director for Brand New Sheriff Productions (BNS).
BNS is Charlotte’s only African-American repertory theatre. Lee is the 2015 recipient of the city of Charlotte’s DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. Medallion Award for Community Service and Achievement the Arts. He remains the first & only artist to ever receive this honor. As founder & executive director of the 501c3 non-profit organization POOR NO MORE, Lee hosts a monthly FREE STORE, Food Pantry and Emergency Assistance Fund for poor & working poor individuals & families in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

ASC and Knight Foundation funded the establishment of KUUMBA Academy. Founded by Lee, KUUMBA is an 18-month fellowship offering artistic & professional development for visual, literary and performing artists of color in the Charlotte NC area.

In late 2022, Lee was named PERSON OF THE YEAR by QNotes – the Carolinas LGBTQ+ news publication. In 2023, Mr. Lee won the coveted FOUNDER’S GRANT from Arts & Science Council. This $50,000 award was granted to a handful of creative thought to have made an indelible impact on the greatest Charlotte community.


Tate Hall, Overcash Building – Central Piedmont Community College (Central Campus)




Visitor parking information, location details and a map can be found on Central Piedmont’s website.

This event will be photographed and videotaped. By attending, you grant Levine Museum of the New South the right to record your image and use it in all forms of advertising and promotion.

The event is finished.


Feb 15, 2024


11:00 am - 12:30 pm


Central Piedmont Community College
1201 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204
QR Code
Skip to content