Dandelion flower with sky as backdrop

VIRAL* BLACKNESS: a zine and exhibit

Viral* as in… flourishing, expanding, energetic, fervid, aggressive, growing, thriving, vigorous, zealous, amplifying, augmenting, budding, burgeoning, sprouting, growing, spreading, swept. (if something is viral, it cannot be: contained, controlled, stunted, static)

2020 has been a year and it isn’t even over. First and probably most significantly, we have experienced a global viral pandemic, which disproportionately affects Black people. We are watching the burgeoning of national protests for Black Lives, with every state and every major city engaging in action to amplify the experiences of Black people. Tik Tok has grown and Black people continue to create viral challenges (It’s the ___ for me; Don’t Rush challenge, etc.). Tabitha Brown’s energy, her family, her vegan cooking, and “her business” has swept through the country and into over 3 million people’s homes. Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion amplified Black women and femme sexuality with W.A.P and caused a viral stir about sexuality, agency, and women’s rights.

We’ve also lost so many Black people. We’ve lost them to the pandemic, to gender-based violence and transphobia, to physical and mental illness, to deportations, and police and state-sanctioned violence. We’ve seen Blackness exploited, co-opted, cat-fished (or Blackfished as some may call it). We’ve seen the story of Meg thee Stallion and Tory Lanez creating divides amongst us in how we respond to violence against Black women. We lost a Black superhero, Chadwick Boseman, someone who shifted Black culture and gave so much of himself while battling cancer.

And in the midst of all of these things, there have been moments of Black joy, while also mourning and honoring black lives – reminiscing, singing, and dancing along with Versuz. Joining along with sprouting indoor and outdoor Black gardens. We laughed and kept it two virgils with folks. Over the course of this year, Blackness has proven to be viral, in that it’s not static, it cannot be contained, stunted, or controlled. It is expansive, thriving, energetic and unapologetic.



Our 2021 exhibit and zine focuses on the complexities of this year, Blackness, and of Black emotion. With this exhibit and zine, we ask, “How is Blackness viral? How do you define or understand viral Blackness and where do you exist within it? How are you and how have you documented your experiences as Black person in the 2020?”

We are looking for different creative perspectives on this idea of viral Blackness from Black NC State students, staff, and faculty. The final product will be a small self-published magazine, called a zine. Some selected submissions will be enlarged or turned into displays in the African American Cultural Center gallery.


  • Photography
  • Art (physical and digital)
  • Paintings
  • Poetry
  • Short Stories – to be featured on the website (up to 1000 words)
  • Essays (up to 1000 words)


Online submissions are due between October 5, 2020 and January 33, 2021 at 11:55 p.m.

Current NC State students, staff, and faculty
Submission Link

Submission Link

Partner: African American Cultural Center

Submission Talk

Join Angela and Chaniqua as they discuss ideas for submission and what Viral* Blackness means to them, and how you might find what it means to you.


To help you with this process, we have two workshops that will be available to you:

Photography Workshop

This workshop will prepare you to take phone photography and will cover, lighting, exposure, framing, abstract photography). This will include photography for selfies as well as directing and taking photographs of subjects. To access the link below, please use the passcode YBRhs$T8

Access the Workshop

Additionally, if you were unable to make the photography workshop, but have questions about concept, techniques or just need a little guidance, please contact Jacqueline Perry.

Writing Workshop

This workshop will help participants think through writing about their experiences. We will have a local Black writer guide us through this workshop. To access the link below, please use the passcode AF0Fgx^1

Access the Workshop

Previous Exhibits

Spring 2020

Existence as Resistance: The Magic in Blackness – a Women’s Center curated exhibition of NC State students, staff, and faculty creatives who took an Afrofuturist lens to create radical Black futures for themselves and viewers.