Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories

This year’s theme of Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” In the Lowcountry, local women share their narratives of black female liberation through various forms of media. Here are some Charleston creatives that have greatly influenced women in the media beyond the peninsula.

Kris Kaylin- Social Media Influencer, Radio Personality, Event Host

Kris Kaylin is a charismatic media personality and host of the Chucktown Hit Factory. With her new talk show, Diva Talk, she interviews a number of guests on topics ranging from black entertainment to mental health in the black community. Known as “The Princess of Charleston,” Kaylin is active within the community where she uses her platform to highlight the black Charleston scene.


Mabel King- Actress

Mabel King was an actress from Charleston who got her big break on the ABC sitcom, “What’s Happening!!” in the late 70s. She stepped down from her role as Mabel “Mama” Thomas after her request to represent the show’s family as a two parent household rather than single mother household was denied by the network. King is best known for her role as the wicked witch of the west, Evillene, in Motown production, “The Wiz.” Her portrayal of black motherhood and culture during the 70s provided positive representation of black women of that time and beyond.

Jirah Perkins- Artist

Jirah Perkins is an up and coming artist from the Lowcountry who depicts the joy of girlhood to womanhood in the black community. Her latest exhibit, “Miss Mary Mack” showcases the many children’s songs and games black girls would take part in. Perkins wanted to change the narrative of criminalizing and sexualizing black women in the media through her work. Perkins’s work can be viewed on her website and Instagram.


Alice Childress- Novelist, Playwright, Actress

Alice Childress was a playwright and novelist born here in Charleston. She later moved to Harlem, New York where she went on to write and direct her first play, Florence. All of the plays she conducted addressed issues of racism, poverty in black urban communities, and problems plaguing black youth. Her play, Gullah, paid homage to her Charleston roots. discussed her acclimation to life up north, and finding a sense of community with other black southerners who moved to New York. Childress is also a children’s book writer covering racial and socioeconomic topics.

Bertha Hill- Singer

Bertha Hill is a Charleston blues singer who found success in the genre at the age of 14. She worked with a number of black artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ma Rainey, and studied under Ethel Waters. Hill moved to Harlem and Chicago to perform in various nightclubs during her youth. While her music career was short-lived, her records, “Pratt City Blues,” “Trouble in Mind,” and “Weary Money Blues” keeps her memory alive.

International Women’s Day: On the Fringe of Change

International Women’s Day is a holiday observed on March 8th to bring awareness to the achievements and challenges of the women’s rights movement. Matters such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence against women and girls are often highlighted throughout the month. Along with this,  female activists around the world fight to improve the quality of life for women. In Charleston, the local foundation IBU Movement hosted an event called the Fringe Revolution to showcase the stories of women artisans around the world through international cuisine, speeches, and a fashion showcase.

IBU Movement works with craftswomen around the world in order for women to generate a source of income based on their artisanal skills. This organization gives women from underrepresented cultures a platform for female empowerment through fashion. This year, IBU celebrated artisan women and their designs in honor of International Women’s Day. The global craftswomen noted the revolutionary change within their communities that has expanded beyond that. In a culturally rich city like Charleston, these women’s stories resonated with many attendees who had a strong appreciation for the customs and traditions of others. Downtown’s strong Gullah roots could feel akin to the representation of designers from various parts of Africa. 

I had the privilege of walking in the Fringe Revolution fashion show, and it was an amazing experience. Exhibiting the beautiful work of Uzbekistan artisan women, I felt esteemed to share the stories of these women through their designs. A day full of female empowerment and celebration created an aspiration of change among women. The challenges and triumphs of women around the world are a testament to the fight for equity. In many cultures and societies, women do not receive the same opportunities for social, political, and economic success as men. IBU’s foundation created a platform for women around the world to stand on a united front to make a difference for women, by women. 

To learn more about Charleston’s fashion hub for change, visit their website and check out their latest spring/summer collection available online or in-store downtown on King Street.