Blacks in Wax Weekend: Rest as Liberation Through Black Stories

Black History Month 2021: Rest is Our Liberation

Blacks in Wax Weekend asserted this year’s Black History Month theme, “Rest as Liberation,” through the action of storytelling, as the African American Cultural Center partnered with the NC State community, alumni, and many others to create a virtual space that honored where we are, and from whence we came, by centering Black stories.

In previous years, Blacks in Wax took the form of a “live museum” of students reenacting luminary figures from Black history.

This year, Blacks in Wax Weekend spotlighted a robust schedule of alumni, community members, students, faculty and staff past and present with the goal of witnessing and grounding ourselves in everyday Black stories that speak to the regularity of revolution.  

Among those featured was retired African American Cultural Center staff member and mother to all, Toni Harris Thorpe; current Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity Associate Vice Provost Stephanie Helms Pickett; scholars and storytellers LaToya Council and Chelsea Johnson, to name a few. Several Black greek letter organizations spoke to the emergence of Blackness within their organizations as well as how they as leaders continue to support Black futurity.  

Participants reflected on finding themselves in spaces where they caught up with old friends, met new ones and considered how experiences at NC State and beyond have shaped and authored Blackness. Communal gathering and storytelling created a space to honor Black stories with vulnerability and authenticity. 

What Blacks in Wax Weekend imparted to participants is that there is not a single Black experience or identity. Our storytelling bridges a gap but also allows us to think about the origination of the stories through Black people and their own movement and emergence in the world. 

Blacks in Wax Weekend was an unveiling of Blackness through storytelling recognizing the value of the unfinished story; it highlighted the richness of connection that exists among Black folx and allowed space to find community with everyone through nuance. 

If you were not able to join us for this Blacks in Wax weekend, we hope you were centering rest and leaning into the creation of your own story. 

Upcoming Event Featuring Yaba Blay

If you would like to further explore the regularity of revolution or to learn more about rest, revolution and liberation we invite you to join us as we converse with Yaba Blay, Ph.D., Professor Natalie Bullock Brown, and student scholars Joanay Tann and Kali Filhart tonight, March 2 at 7 p.m. (See related article: An Emergent Conversation: Rest, Revolution and Liberation).

Register at This event is free and open to the public. 

Register now

Connect with more African American Cultural Center programs and events, including our MLK Speaker Series with Ashley Gaddy on March 30, at

angela gay-audre is director of the African American Cultural Center.