Upperman African American Cultural Center


Subject to change

Africana Lecture and
Film Series
Art Exhibits Sankofa Programming
Collaborations Signature Programs Waffles and Worship
Black Fridays Special Events

January 2019

17 | Save The Day: When Our Heroes Are Black Art Exhibit
6:30 p.m., Upperman

We soar into our spring semester with an interactive art exhibit that reveals the rich and storied history of black superheroes in comics and their influence on the modern media landscape today


18 | Marvelous America Chavez
2 p.m., La Sala

Explore the Marvel superhero America Chavez as we consider the intersections that shape Gabby Rivera’s groundbreaking character.

Co-Sponsored by Centro Hispano and the LGBTQIA Resource Office


21 | 'While I Breathe, I Hope' Showing
6 p.m., King Auditorium

A kickoff to our MLK Celebration program, join the Upperman Center and Housing and Residence Life for a showing of While I Breathe, I Hope. What does it mean to be young, Black, and Democrat in the South? While I Breathe, I Hope unravels this question through the experiences of South Carolina politician Bakari Sellers. The film follows Sellers on his 2014 bid for Lt. Governor, through the Charleston Shootings in 2015, and to the present as he takes on a national role on CNN and considers his future in Trump’s America. 


22 | When Tomorrow Is Today: The Fierce Urgency of Now MLK Celebration
7p.m., Kenan Auditorium

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today..."

Join the Upperman Center and UNCW on Jan. 22nd, 7PM at Kenan Auditorium for our 34th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration entitled 'When Tomorrow Is Today: The Fierce Urgency of Now' with keynote speaker Bakari Sellers!

Admission is free with ticket. Tickets can be picked up at Kenan Auditorium. For groups larger than four, RSVP here

25 | Space Is The Place: A Sun-Ra Black Friday
12 p.m., Upperman
Get all your black sci-fi fun with Sun-Ra’s unique musical and sartorial stylings and explore the role of black people in science fiction.
26 | A Gullah Geechee Festival Of Learning
10am-4pm, CIS Auditorium

The Gullah Geechee Festival of Learning will include lectures on Gullah Geechee culture and history, on challenges to the preservation of Gullah culture and history, films, exhibits and more. The festival opens with an art exhibit at the Wilmington Arts Council on Jan. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. (221 N Front St Suite 101) and continues on January 26, 2019, at the CIS Building on the campus of UNCW from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Partnering with The Links, INC and The Arts Council of Wilmington and NHC

29 & 30 | 'The Inferior Sex' Reading
7pm, Cultural Arts Building

'The Inferior Sex' is a poignant and hilarious behind-the-scenes look at a woman's magazine that gets political, faces hard truths, and breaks new ground in an ever-changing world. It's the summer of 1972. As the war in Vietnam intensifies, the battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment ramps up across the nation, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm remains undeterred in her campaign for president. In midtown Manhattan, a small woman's magazine is on the verge of collapsing and threatens to dash the hopes and dreams of a group of women tired of being treated as second class. This timely piece deals with race, discrimination, women in the workplace, politics, and history.

30 | UPPgrade: Know Your Crown
10am-2p.m., Upperman
Increase self-awareness through the exploration of values, beliefs, culture, and identity; Articulate your own self-identity.
31 | Welcome To Wakanda Fashion Show
8 pm, McNeil Auditorium
Make sure you have your ticket as we fly this year's fashion show into Wakanda! Join us for this collaborative effort to kickoff Homecoming with a Multi-media influenced fashion show.

February 2019

1 | Etched in Gold: Wondaland
7 p.m., Azalea Coast Rooms A and B and Town Square

Join us for this All Black Affair as The Upperman Center and the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association Seeks To Host an event that brings Alumni together over sumptuous cocktails and libations. Tickets are $40 online and $50 at the door. All proceeds to benefit Upperman’s programming slate. Register here.

3 | Homecoming Fellowship Service 
10 a.m., Warwick Ballroom

Join the Upperman African American Cultural Center and AAGA as the engage in an hour of reflection and celebration through faith and community. Register here.

19 | ‘Is God Funky or What?' Book Signing and Lecture
7 p.m., Clocktower Lounge
Join the UNCW community as we celebrate the book signing of our own Dr. Theodore ‘Teddy’ Burgh, professor in the department of Philosophy and Religion. Teddy’s book, ‘Is God Funky or What?: Black Biblical Culture and Contemporary Popular Music complicates the traditional categories of sacred and secular by exposing religious rhetoric and contexts of contemporary popular black music and by revealing the religious-based biblical references and spirituality that form the true cultural context from which these genres emerge. The personal beliefs of black music artists often include, if not revolve around, the heavens. 
22 | On and On: A Neo Soul Black Friday
12 p.m., Upperman Center
Black Friday is themed around Neo-Soul, as we celebrate the birthday of the Queen of Neo Soul, Ms. Erykah Badu.


23 | Theara Ward Lecture
2 p.m., Beckwith Recital Hall

Before you witness the wonder of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), hear from Theara Ward, former principle dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem and now program associate for DTH’s Dancing Through Barriers as she share some lesser known stories in the history of African American classical music and dance.


23 | Dance Theater of Harlem
7:30 p.m., Kenan Auditorium
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a performing Ensemble, a leading arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers, a national and international education and community outreach program. The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company consists of 14 racially diverse dance artists who perform an eclectic, demanding/repertoire. In additions to performances in New York City across the country and abroad, Company activities that carry a message of empowerment through the arts also include engaging community through education activities for audiences and young people.


24 | Black Olympiad
2 p.m., CIS Auditorium
It's our Annual Black History Month Quiz Bowl in its new format: The Black Olympiad! Come watch local middle school students battle it out around their knowledge on all things Black.  Additionally, we have added an oratory competition for high school students, and visual arts for both middle school students and high school students to round out this year’s competition. Co-sponsored by our Wilmington Juneteenth Committee. 
27 | UPPGrades: Code-Switching
12 p.m. Upperman Center
This event focuses on how many Minorities subtly and instinctively change the way they express themselves all the time. We hop-scotch between different cultural and linguistic spaces and different parts of our own identities — sometimes within a single interaction.

March 2019

5 | BFSA Mixer
5:30 p.m. Upperman Center

The Upperman African American Cultural Center, cordially invites all UNCW Black Faculty and Staff to join us in the center for a dessert and coffee mixer prior to experiencing the artistic talents of the Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. BFSA members only.
5 | Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble
7:30 p.m. Kenan Auditorium

The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (ALJE) is an octet of some of the most virtuosic musicians in jazz today. Led by Arturo O'Farrill, the ALJE is a part of The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance who are dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of Afro Latin jazz, supporting its performance for new audiences, and educating young people in the understanding and performance of this important cultural treasure. Their repertoire honors the pioneers of Latin jazz while keeping a strong foothold in progressing that music by performing contemporary compositions of the genre. The ALJE has performed internationally to critical acclaim, playing such festivals as the Cubadisco Festival (Havana, Cuba), the Luminato Festival (Toronto, Canada), Aperitivo in Concerto (Milan, Italy) and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Becket, MA). In collaboration with the UNCW Office of the Arts.



9-15 | Civil Rights Spring Break Tour
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Join us for a trip through the Deep South as we embark to learn about the ways in which civil rights activists of the past have already been superheroes who bettered our future.  Please sign up in the center and a deposit of $200 covers your student costs.




18-25 | Dr. Kaia Shivers: Artist in Residence

Dr. Kaia Niambi Shivers, professor of Liberal Arts Studies at New York University, will come down for a week-long residency at Upperman where she will give lectures, provide workshops for student groups, participate in the NC Black Film Festival and much more. Dr. Shivers’ research focuses on black representations in media and the African diaspora.



27 | UPPGrade: Networking 101 and Mock Interview
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Join the Upperman Center as we share what employers are looking for in their new hires. We will teach you how to successfully master interviews by providing information such as tips, salary negotiating, and guidance. Then you will get a chance to use those skills in a mock interview.

29 | Bounce Aerobics
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Work off your spring break splurge off with some bounce aerobics as we get fit and learn about this New Orleans musical tradition and it’s impact in the pop culture landscape.

31 | Waffles and Worship with Brent Campbell
12:45 p.m., Madeline Suite

Join us in this afternoon as we come together to uplift one another's spirits in fellowship. Our speaker, Brent Campbell, will be providing our souls with the Word, and afterward, stick around and continue the fellowship as we have a delicious brunch!  

April 2019

13-14 | Upp, Upp and Away: A Black Pop Upp Comic-Con
12 p.m., Upperman Center

The Upperman African American Cultural Center invites you to a two-day celebration of the contributions that black superheroes, writers, and artists have made to the pop-culture landscape. There will be a movie marathon with mini-games for prizes, academic lectures, art displays, a panel with local creatives, cosplay opportunities, and more!


24 | UPPGrade: Cooking For Yourself
12 p.m., Upperman Center

Whether you are used to living alone or are about to leave the dorms, cooking for one can be a challenge. All too often cookery books and websites only offer recipes for two, four or more people, and reducing the quantities of ingredients can be fiddly and easy to get wrong. And it may be the case that you have never needed to cook for yourself before, and suddenly find that you need to learn what to do to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Join the Upperman Center as we teach you how to cook for yourself.


26 | Yes Lawd: An Afropunk Black Friday
12 p.m., Upperman Center 
We end Black Fridays with a look at the new musical sound and aesthetic sweeping the nation: Afropunk.


27 | Level UPP: Leadership Development Bootcamp
9 a.m., Upperman

It’s time to Level UPP your organization! Learn best practices for programming, membership development and more! RSVP at www.uncw.edu/upperman by April 6th.



27 | Stomping at the Savoy
7 p.m., Burney Center

Join us for our annual fundraiser and party to raise money for African American student scholarships. Food, Libations, Live Music make this annual event a must for those who love a good cause and supporting students.

May 2019

10 | Spring Senior Sankofa
10:15 a.m., Education Building
Senior Sankofa was established in 1999 by the African American Graduate Association (AAGA) and the Upperman African American Cultural Center. Sankofa is a West African word in the Akan language meaning “wisdom in learning from the past to build for the future” and symbolizes an African rite of passage. The Sankofa Graduation Ceremony is a reception celebrating the success of students within the African diaspora at UNCW.

Archived Events