Fact Friday 430 - Chatty Hattie Leeper - Charlotte's First Black Female DJ

Fact Friday 430 - Chatty Hattie Leeper - Charlotte's First Black Female DJ

Happy Friday!

This week's Fact Friday comes to you from the Harvey B. Gantt Center online (copy) and WCNC (copy & video), with additional commentary added, and channels some energy from last weekend's "Record Store Day," which was on April 20.


Charlotte’s own Hattie "Chatty Hatty" Leeper, the first Black female DJ in the city, is one of our (Gantt Center) trailblazers this month (March 2024). Ms. Leeper's accomplishments are as varied as the careers of several lifetimes. She started as a young radio intern in 1951 and after graduating high school she officially became a DJ with WGIV, the number one radio station at the time. Ms. Leeper went on to have her hands in various layers of the music industry. She has produced music and written liner notes for some of the biggest names in music, such as Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle. She owned and operated her own record label called AwarE at one point, helping to excel the careers of many local acts.

She also wrote and produced a number of regional hits for the label and traveled to Chicago and New York City to do the sessions. This was at the invitation of some of the top management in the business, including the legendary Jerry Wexler, the President of Atlantic Records.

Revisiting her parents' vision of her becoming a teacher, Chatty Hatty earned a Master's in Education Administration at Central Piedmont Community College. She taught at several colleges and universities, including her 11-year role as the dean of the communications department at Gaston College. She left there and became the founder and owner of her own very successful local record stores. She deepened her championship of education, becoming the founder and owner of Chatty School of Communication. Chatty has earned various awards and honors, most notably her induction to the National Black Radio Hall of Fame.

In an interview with WCCB Charlotte, Chatty Hatty expressed, "you got to be sincere about this business of being a trailblazer. You got to be humble, you got to be thankful. You got to help somebody." Just by pursuing her passion, Chatty Hatty has helped create a new lane for women of color in media, beyond Charlotte and into the national pathway.

Learn more about Hattie and view her audio mixer (pictured above) by visiting the Levine Museum of the New South's Charlotte: Moving Forward, Looking Back exhibition.



"Hattie "Chatty Hatty" Leeper" - Harvey B. Gantt Center online

"Charlotte radio legend 'Chatty Hattie' inducted into Black Radio Hall of Fame," by Larry Sprinkle, WCNC Charlotte, October 13, 2022.

Email chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin

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