Historically, Black History Month has been a celebration of Black culture, identity and achievement. However, 2020 reminded people around the world that Black lives shouldn’t only be valued for what they represent in popular culture and media.
There were global protests following the tragic murder of George Floyd, and they’ve continued after the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, Jacob Blake and Los Angeles’s own Dijon Durand Kizzee, along with so many more.
From arts to activism, this is a guide full of BHM events that will continue to echo: “All Black Lives Matter.” May audiences take part in the celebrations as well as mindful reflection and remember to advocate for social change.
The queer TV streaming service, Revry is getting Black History Month started with four compelling documentaries. The first documentary, We Can’t Breathe documents how the the murder of a Black man served as a catalyst for protest and how a queer Black woman captured the truth through her lens.
The second film, Voguing the Message examines the intersections of sex, age and subculture when it comes to the birth of vogue from gay Black and Latino dances. The third film, Linish, is an ode to the iconic DJ Lina Bradford.Heavenly Brown Body draws from the poem “Litanies to my Heavenly Brown Body” by Mark Aguhar that explores poetry as the liturgy for healing. They’ll have even more screenings throughout Black History Month. On Fri., Feb. 5, they’re screening Single Record and America in Transition. On Sun., Feb. 7, audiences can stream Trade, Miseducated and Boys Hurt Too. Short films Pea Pod, Engaged, Iconoclast, Innocent Boy, Not Black Enough, My Name was January, Light in Dark Places, and season 1 of My Trans Life will be available on Tues., Feb. 9.
On Fri., Feb. 12, music blocks by Mila Jam, Madison Rose, NEO 10Y, Ze Taylor, Cakes da Killa, Alsace Carcione, Davy Boi, Khaos Da Rapper, Lafemmebear, Matt Palmer, and the show To Be Me will be shared with viewers. On Sun., Feb. 14, Her Story and His Story will be playing as well as Gina Yashere: Laughing To America and Threesome. Black History Month programming is set to run thru Sun., Feb. 18, 2021. https://watch.revry.tv/.
For Black History Month, PBS is giving audiences a sneak peak into their new limited series The Black Church, which will be hosted by La Niece Jones, the KQED Community Advisory Board Panelist. Special guests Bishop Joseph Simmons from Greater Paul Church, Dr. Martha C. Taylor from Allen Temple Baptist Church and Bishop Bob Jackson from Acts Full Gospel Church will unravel the history of the Black church within the Bay Area. Tues., Feb. 2, 6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. PST. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pbs-the-black-church-sneak-peek-and-discussion-registration-136563837113
Mills Performing Arts will be hosting a conversation between historian and journalist Channing Gerard and Susan Stryker called In Search of Our Black Queer Anscestors as a part of their Mills College Trans Studies Speaker Series. This conversation is an effort to trace and reclaim the histories of queer Black Americans throughout history. Registration is required and a broadcast link will be given on the day the event takes place. Thurs., Feb. 4, 5 p.m. PST. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ln-search-of-our-black-queer-ancestors-tickets-133794287315?aff=ebdssbeditorialcollection
Audiences can join Mathew A. Cherry, the creator of the beloved short film Hair Love for a screening and conversation about Black representation. The event, titled Hair Love: Building a Legacy Through Representation with Matthew A. Cherry is hosted by Dreambank at Spark. After the screening, Cherry will discuss what inspired him to create the film and why Black representation matters. The event is free and attendees can register on Eventbrite. Thurs., Feb. 18, 1-2 p.m. PST. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hair-love-building-a-legacy-through-representation-with-matthew-a-cherry-registration-135911174983?aff=ebdssbeditorialcollection
The American Black Film Festival and IMDb are presenting a new digital series entitled, Hollywood Homecoming, featuring the cult-classic Black romantic comedy, The Best Man. This screening will also include a cast reunion with director Malcom D. Lee, Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Melissa DeSoussa and more. Expect hilarious memories and shared stories about the film and their life experiences of the cast. Fans are invited to get in on the excitement and submit their thoughts on the film for a segment called “Fan Mail.” Created by Jeff Friday and the American Black Film Festival “Hollywood Hollywood” will be broadcast on ABFF PLAY, a free streaming site focused on Black culture. Wed., Feb. 17, 2021 at 3 p.m. PST. For more information, go to: https://www.abff.com/american-black-film-festival-and-imdb-presents-new-digital-series-hollywood-homecoming-launching-in-february-2021/
Firestorm Books & Coffee will be hosting a zoom visionary readers group that will be led by two Black women and include the reading and discussion of Lectures on Liberation by activist Angela Davis and the Broken Earth trilogy, book 1, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. The visionary group’s zoom will take place, Mon., Feb 1, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/visionary-readers-group-tickets-137979986855?aff=ebdssbeditoialcollection
Author of Between the World and Me (adapted into a documentary on HBO Max) Ta-Nehesi Coates discusses the new young reader’s edition of his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle with New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin, Nic Stone. The event , titled P&P Live! Ta-Nehisi Coates/The Beautiful Struggle with Nic Stone, is hosted by Politics and Prose. Topics will include Coates’ journey into adulthood and his relationship with his father, inner-city life and more. Admission is $5 without a copy of the book, free with an $18 purchase of the book for store pickup and $25 for free event admission and a copy of the book shipped to the customer’s domestic address of choice. Wed., Feb. 24, 4 -5 p.m. More info at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pp-live-ta-nehisi-coates-the-beautiful-struggle-with-nic-stone-tickets-137325860345?aff=ebdssbeditorialcollection
The Broad Stage will be presenting the West Coast premiere of Heartbeat Opera’s Breathing Free, and the virtual event will feature a song cycle that celebrates Black artistic voices and includes the selections; Beethoven’s Fidelio, Negro spirituals and works by Harry T. Burleigh, Florence Price, Langston Hughes, Anthony Davis and Thulani Davis. After each screening, there will be a panel discussion with advocates and artists that explore the major themes and relate them back to incarcerated populations. The production will include a 45-minute visual album that includes three dancers, their singers and eight instrumentals along with a talented creative team. Wed., Feb.10 at 7 p.m. PT and Sat., Feb. 13 at 7 p.m PST. Tickets for this full programmed event are donation based, starting at $10. More info at https://thebroadstage.org/performances/2020-21/opera/breathingfree.
The Grammy Museum will have a virtual exhibit, panels and more for their Black History Month collection. While the Los Angeles museum will be closed until further notice due to the pandemic, it has an amazing digital series lined up that includes interviews with musicians, exhibits with photo slideshows, educational content, and COLLECTION:live- their new streaming service. The Black History Month COLLECTION:live lineup will include works from Leon Bridges, The O’ Jays, Claudette Robinsion, and celebrations of artists like John Lee Hooker: King Of The Boogie, Art Kane: Harlem 1958 – A Panel Discussion with Jonathan Kane and Benny Golson and much more. New program date announcements are set to be added soon. COLLECT:live is available for $2.99/month or $29.99 a year. Proceeds go to the Grammy Museum’s music education and preservation during COVID-19. Programming is set for Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 and Thurs., Feb. 8. For more information, go to: GRAMMY Museum February 2021 Schedule | GRAMMY Museum.
The Committee For a Greater LA’s #NoGoingBackLA will present Art 4 [CHANGE], which is an online forum including artists advocating for social change. Noteworthy artists, including Nychole Owens, a muralist from Pomona CA, Karina Vasquez, a muralist from Canoga Hill and others will hold discussions about street art, music, storytelling and activism. This event is centered around the street art in Los Angeles that has been a tool for social change over the years, particularly for Black and brown communities. There will be conversations on the future of L.A. and what’s next when it comes to justice. The forum will be held on Mon., Feb. 1, 2021 at 12 -1:15p.m. PST. For more info, go to: https://nogoingback.la/artist-campaign/ To sign-up, click here.
Dissect, a serialized music podcast hosted by creator Cole Cuchna on Spotify is treating audiences to a five episode mini-series based on Beyoncé’s epic project Black is King, considering the global Black Lives Matter movement and the celebration of Black culture that the film appreciates. Joined by special guest co-host, Dr. Titi Shodiya, Cole examines popular albums that have influenced hip-hop culture and music all around and applies academic analysis to the discussions. The first episode in which Beyoncé reflects on how far as a people the Black community has come is out now. More episodes will drop each week. To listen, go to: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6xvQg8K0PHnLKdUOTlifYt?si=swDVg4pFSX6nHAoWLxMWng
Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles will host a rally to support progressive justice reform. With the #STANDWITHGEORGE effort, they are pushing for transformative change in L.A., demanding for police accountability. All attendees must be double-masked and socially distanced. Tues., Feb. 2, 12 p.m. At Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 110 N. Grand Avenue and 111 N. Hill Street between Temple and First streets, lining Grand Park in the Civic Center in Downtown Los Angeles. For more info, go to: https://www.facebook.com/blmla/
Brown Girl Rise is hosting Holding Space for Black and Brown Youth to provide a safe space for BIPOC girls, trans youth and non-binary femmes to collectively heal and discuss radical self care for ages 7-17. This will be an ongoing event taking place every Wednesday at the same time. The first meeting is set for Wed., Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m. For more info, go to: Holding Space for Black and Brown Youth.