Special Event: “Build a House” with Rhiannon Giddens

Join us at Epilogue Book Café on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 4 PM for a very special book reading, signing, and Q&A with Build a House author, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Southern Futures Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens.  

“Build a House”: A Sit Down and Signing with Author Rhiannon Giddens


African Americans were forcibly enslaved and brought to this land to build houses they were not allowed to live in, tend to families who were not their own, and sow the seeds that fed a nation — while being left with only scraps themselves. They were not expected to thrive. But they did. 
In her picture book debut from Candlewick Press, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Southern Futures Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens depicts a family’s resilience in the face of violence and sorrow. They are determined not just to survive, but also to tell their own story. 
Based on the song “Build A House,” composed for the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and performed with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Giddens’s stirring text is paired with moving illustrations by Monica Mikai. Build a House confronts the history of slavery in America by telling the story of a courageous people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them through untold challenges. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even — or perhaps especially — when your heart is heaviest. 

Epilogue Book Café, Candlewick Press, and Carolina Performing Arts are thrilled to present this family event

Rhiannon Giddens will be in Chapel Hill to continue her Southern Futures research. As an artist-in-residence at Carolina Performing Arts, Giddens is focused on celebrating the cultural contributions and the impact of Black and Indigenous populations that resided — and helped to build — Chapel Hill.  

Carolina Performing Arts will present Giddens’ powerful new opera, Omar, Feb. 25-26, 2023. The spring season will be announced Nov. 1, 2022. Public on-sale for Omar and other spring events begins Nov. 15, 2022.   

Announcing the Hip Hop South Festival at Carolina Performing Arts

Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is excited to announce the Hip Hop South Festival, a two-day event from April 22–23, 2022 that celebrates the impact of hip hop across the South. Co-curated by Harvard Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellows Christopher Massenburg (also known as Dasan Ahanu) and Regina Bradley, the festival will feature headlining performances by hip hop heavyweights and local artists, as well as academic gatherings, late-night beat and dance battles, visual art and more. 

The Hip Hop South Festival is part of CPA’s Southern Futures initiative, which features arts experiences co-created with local communities and focuses on racial equity, social justice and the American South. As a co-curator and CPA staff member, Christopher Massenburg looks forward to exploring hip hop culture with audiences.  

“The Hip Hop South Festival creates space for deeper exploration and appreciation of hip hop’s geographical influence by focusing on the development and impact of the culture across the South.”  

HIP HOP South festival co-curator christopher massenburg

The festival kicks off Friday, April 22 with a main show at Cat’s Cradle, featuring North Carolina favorites Carolina Waves, Shirlette Ammons, and Rapsody — followed by Turn It Loose, Volume 3 — a late-night B-boy jam at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, hosted by the Raleigh Rockers, and featuring breakdancing demonstrations and competitions with dance crews from across the region.  

The excitement continues Saturday, April 23 with a main show at Memorial Hall, featuring some of the South’s finest hip hop artists — Radio Rehab, Sa-Roc, and Big Boi — followed by a late-night beat battle at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, hosted by The Underground Collective, and featuring local luminaries The Soul Council, who will provide beat demonstrations and judging.  

Festivalgoers will also enjoy a visual arts experience throughout the two days. “Dirty South Scribes, an exhibit by Regina Bradley at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, honors the groundbreaking writers who spotlight Southern rap’s significance.  

See the full festival schedule.

Tickets are on sale now and include single-day and two-day pass options; a limited number of UNC-Chapel Hill student tickets are available. 

Learn more about what to expect when you visit our venues — including ticketing, parking, and health and safety protocols — in our Event FAQ

About Carolina Performing Arts 

The mission of Carolina Performing Arts is to spark curiosity, inspiring all members of its community to discover and more fully engage with the world. The 21/22 season programming at Carolina Performing Arts features Southern Futures at Carolina Performing Arts, designed to facilitate co-creative arts experiences that produce diverse and nuanced narratives about racial equity, social justice, and the American South and create spaces for inclusive dialogue and learning. 

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