In L.A., Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black pride and culture, as well as reflect on all that the African-American community has overcome. While February has already seen several events come and go, there is still a lot left to do, whether one wants to be educated, entertained or just party. From family fun to events driven by art, books, culture, dance, film, history and music there are countless options. Here’s a guide full of BHM events in greater L.A. that will leave you inspired.
(Also see our Culture and Arts sections this week for even more black history-driven events).
The California African American Museum offers mixed-media displays spanning throughout black history, and hosts variety of fascinating and fun events to go with them. On February 19, the museum presents “Men in Fashion and Entrepreneurship.” Attendees will hear from fashion-industry professionals T.J. Walker, Carl Jones, Mechael Ferrera and others. The museum will also hold a creative Zines Workshop with Able ARTS Work on February 22. Participants will be able to use art from zines to make a collage about black history. On February 23, Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy DADA Ensemble will perform dances inspired by the museum’s exhibit “Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century” and hip hop music. Go to nerd out over literally anything related to famed African-American dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen (the epitome of Black Girl Magic) or to enjoy some smooth moves. Also on February 23, the museum will present a special feature during its monthly book club gathering. In collaboration with the museum’s exhibit “Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840–1940,” they will discuss celebrated African-American author Roxane Gay’s best-selling memoir Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. The event will reflect on the history of racism and stereotyping that Black culture has historically challenged and overcome. CAAM, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; caamuseum.org/programs.
Some hidden gems can be found at The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City. The Clayton Library and Museum houses more than 2 million mixed-media works showcasing African-American culture in the United States. Its current exhibit is titled “Inspired — A Tribute To Trailblazing African American Artist In Los Angeles. On February 23, The Clayton presents “Celebrating Black Leadership in Culver City,” with guests including State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Culver City Councilmember Daniel Lee, Culver City Unified School District Superintendent Leslie Lockhart, Culver City School Board Member Summer McBride, Culver City Education Foundation President Melanie Mack and Culver City Chamber of Commerce President Colin Diaz,in conversation. Guided tours of the museum can be scheduled by appointment (310) 202-1647. The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, 4130 Overland Ave., Culver City; claytonmuseum.org/events/black-history-month-exhibit.
If you happen to want to get your shop on and appreciate Black culture, The Museum of African American Art in Baldwin Hills’ Crenshaw Plaza is for you. Located on the third floor of Macy’s, the museum’s riveting exhibit “No Crystal Stair: The Photography of John Simmons,” with selections from the renowned African-American photographer/cinematographer, will be on display until March 29. The Museum of African American Art, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd., Crenshaw; maaala.org/exhibits.html.
The 28th annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival features more than 150 new films from hundreds of artists. The largest Black film festival in the United States enthralls audiences each year with its bold and diverse range of screenings. This year, PAFF runs from through February 23 at Cinemark 15 in Baldwin Hills’ Crenshaw Plaza and features programs including a film competition inspired by John Singleton, and children’s festival (this Saturday and Sunday) screening The Lion King with Dear Basketball and Spider-Verse with Oscar-winning short, Hair Love. The closing night film on the 23rd, will be Lineo Sekeleoane’s Zulu Wedding, about a love triangle involving an arranged marriage to an African king. Tickets: https://filmfreeway.com/ThePanAfricanFilmFestival/tickets. 4020 Marlton Ave., Crenshaw; paff.org.
The Occidental College Intercultural Community Center will present “The 365 Series: Sonya Renee Taylor” on February 20, 5-7 p.m., in Choi Auditorium. Taylor, who is an author, poet, spoken-word artist, speaker, humanitarian, social-justice activist, educator and the founder of “The Body is Not An Apology” movement, will focus her talk on radical self-care within activist communities. Choi Auditorium, 1600 Campus Road, Eagle Rock; RSVP for this free event: eventbrite.com/e/the-365-series-presents-sonya-renee-taylor-tickets-94035600011.
Black History Month is the perfect time to learn about some incredible herstories (stories from and about women). “Soul Sista Presents: Drop the Beat Black Herstory Month Edition” at The Pack Theater is a chance to enjoy humor, music and black women narratives from comedian hosts Marian Yesufu and Sime Oton and comics Ashleigh Shapiro, Ara Michelle, Jasmine Reid, Nathalie Holmes, Kaycee Campbell, Jerrica Long and Ashlei Shyne. The Pack Theater, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 21, 8-9 p.m.; RSVP for this free event: eventbrite.com/e/soul-sista-presents-drop-the-beat-black-herstory-month-edition-tickets-62661123106.
Another can’t-miss is “UCLA Luskin Black Caucus Presents: Black Table Talk,” his facilitated group talk welcomes people from different backgrounds to celebrate everything that it means to be black and to discuss black campus life, self-care and love. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided with RSVP. 337 Charles E Young Drive E., Westwood; Thu., Feb. 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.; eventbrite.com/e/luskin-black-caucus-presents-black-table-talk-being-black-in-a-space-tickets-93119086695.
A variety of free Black History Month book clubs, talks and movie screenings for all ages are offered in community library branches of the Los Angeles Public Library. At the Granada Hills Branch, the book club will discuss Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Underground Railroad, on February 19, and Toni Morrison’s classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved, on February 26. The West Los Angeles Branch will present “Harlem Renaissance Stories: Songs & Crafts” for children on February 20. Also on February 20, the Exposition Park Branch will feature author and activist Blair Imani and LGBTQ journalist and curator Tre’vell Anderson in conversation. On February 22, the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles is screening “Courage Under Fire: The History of African American Firefighters in Los Angeles.” The Los Feliz Branch will offer a Teen African American Month Book Club on February 25. And on February 29, the Hyde Park Branch will present “The Very Best of Eddie Murphy Film Festival. “ For information on event times and scheduling, go to: lapl.org/whats-on/calendar.
With something for everyone in the family, the African American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach will offer music, art, dance and education. This weekend, February 22-23, will include African-American and African live performances, Mardi Gras line dancers, hip-hop, jazz and a rare chance to see animals from Africa. The festival is accessible with paid general admission and free for Aquarium members. Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/african_american_festival.
Known for its iconic Rose Parade, beautiful Old Town and gourmet restaurants, the city of Pasadena also offers an epic amount of Black History Month celebrations going on this week and the next. The Pasadena Convention Center will feature a visual mobile kiosk with photography from Alfred Haymond until February 26. (300 E. Green St.). Pasadena’s Central Library North Entry 285 will display the “100 Years of Service Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Art Exhibit” until February 29. And the Black History Festival will be held at the Central Library Auditorium on February 29, 1-4:30 p.m. (285 E. Walnut St.). The Hastings Ranch Branch Library presents Alfred Haymond’s photography in “Observations in Black, 2020” until February 29. The library also will screen the 1996 documentary All Power to the People! (The Black Panther Party and Beyond) on February 25 at 3:30 p.m. Black Panther Party members Henry “Hank” Jones and Gene Washington will be in conversation after the screening. (3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.). The library also hosts the “Negro Leagues Centennial Presentation” on February 22, 2-4 p.m. Finally, Hastings celebrates with “Chocolate Story Time: Tales and Treat for Children” on February 28 at 4 p.m. (1355 Raymond Ave.). The Noble & Black Fire Fighter Association host the Pasadena Black Employee Association Black History Breakfast, held at Robinson Park. The breakfast will provide community members with an opportunity to learn about Black identity and firefighting on Thu., Feb. 20, 7:30 a.m. (1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave.). Grandma and Grandpa are going to love this next one, because it’s about to be Senior Night Out hosted by Pasadena City College. (Foothill Campus, 3035 E. Foothill Blvd.;n Feb. 21, 7 p.m.; $25).For those musically inclined, the Hill Avenue Branch Library hosts a “Jazz Concert Celebrating Black History Month.” (55 S. Hill Ave. February 22 at 3:30 p.m.) The State of Black Pasadena “Power of the Black Vote” will be hosted by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at the Jackie Robinson Community Center. (1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave. on February 25, 6:30-8 p.m.) “History of the Black Man Book Discussion & Dominoes Day,” highlighting the history of Reverend Joseph Jackson will be held at Sidewalk Café ,2057 N. Los Robles Ave., on February 29 at noon. Finally, the Allendale Branch Library will be host “A Conversation with Lynell George” at 2 p.m. A beloved L.A. journalist (and former L.A. Weekly staffer) and essayist, George is the author of After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame, a book of essays. 1130 S. Marengo Ave. For more information about Black History Month events in Pasadena, go to: cityofpasadena.net/human-services/community-event.
Those looking to get their party on can show off the dance moves all night long at “AFROLITUATION: LA’s Black History Month Special” on February 22, 10 p.m-2 a.m. Awesome vibes abound at this monthly African-themed party immersing guests in cultural food, fashion and lots of dance, not to mention mouth-watering suya, a West African kabob, and and chance to treat yourself to cultural face-painting ($5). Doors open at 10 p.m. for those with early bird tickets. Be sure to RSVP online only as emailed RSVPs will not be accepted. If your birthday is in February, you can get a personal shoutout from the DJ by sending an email to email@example.com with your name. 21+only. 3040 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; eventbrite.com/e/afrolituation-la-black-history-month-special-tickets-88167592643.
On February 22, from 6-9 p.m, Granada Hills community members are in for a treat at the GHSNC Black History Month Celebration. The Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council of Cultural Affairs Committee is hosting an exciting evening featuring jazz, soul food, drummers and more. Vincent Wilburn Jr., drummer and nephew of Miles Davis, will be giving a soulful performance. Gotta Dance Studio, 17636 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. RSVP for this free event at: eventbrite.com/e/ghsnc-black-history-month-celebration-tickets-2979368371.
A can’t-miss for Marvel movie fans and families, the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study will present “The Art of Costume Design: Black Panther Plus Workshop.” This Academy Family Day invites families with children ages 8-17 to attend “Heroes and Sheroes” Costume Design Workshop followed by a screening of Black Panther. It’s a great opportunity for children to draw, color and make their own superhero costumes while viewing the original costumes from Black Panther on display. At intermission, the Linwood Dunn Theater will invite families to a presentation about costume design in the film given by Oscar-award winner Ruth Carter, who won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design last year for her work on the film. The event will conclude with a return to the screening of Black Panther, with a new perspective of the costumes in action on the big screen. Light refreshments will be provided. Adults unaccompanied by a child may only attend the 7:30 pm screening. Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, 1313 Vine St,. Hollywood;. to reserve a spot for the workshop and 2:30 pm screening, register at: oscars.org/events/art-costume-design-black-panther-plus-workshop.