February marks Black History Month, and there are a bevy of events all over Vancouver to celebrate, acknowledge, learn from, and party with the work, creativity, and artistry of black folks in Vancouver, past, present, and future. Check out our (non-exhaustive) listings below.
All Month: Black History Month at VIFF
Individually priced, 3 show-packs available for $30
Curated by Barbara Chirinos, VIFF’s annual Black History Month film series will include a free all-ages screening of the animated classic Kirikou and the Sorceress, the ground-breaking queer love story Rafiki (a film which had a constitutional impact in its native Kenya), the acclaimed Oscar short-listed documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening; an African superhero movie you need to see, Supa Modo; concert doc Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, rousing slam poetry doc Don’t Be Nice (followed by a poetry slam in the Vancity Theatre atrium), a film about the first African American woman to run for President of the United States, Chisholm ‘72 ,Unbound and Unbossed; Spike Lee’s BLACKKKLANSMAN, and Afro-futurist classic Sankofa.
February 1-16th: Mythic Texture and Black History, Present and Afrofuturism by Akem and Odera Igbokwe
Richmond Cultural Centre Upper Rotunda Gallery, 7700 Minoru Gate.
Join Akem and Odera Igbokwe as they explore the concepts of identity, culture and representation through their illustration and paintings. Akem’s Mythic Texture focuses on Black people living with joy and adventure as a counter-narrative to the negative images in the media. Odera’s Black History, Present and Afrofuturism explores Black historical figures, legends and mythologies from the African diaspora, and visions of Afrofuturism.
February 13th: On Being Black in Vancouver 2: Ladies Night - Reading Women in the City at the VPL Central Branch. Free Entry.
What does it mean to be a Black woman in Vancouver? Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends—how do we read and write Black womanhood? Building on last year’s standing room only event, writers Chantal Gibson, How She Read, Chelene Knight, Dear Current Occupant, Juliane Okot Bitek, 100 Days, and special guest Whitney French, Black Writers Matter, present another unique artistic mash-up of stories on being Black in Vancouver.
February 14th: Afrofuturism in Literature: An Afrocentrism Conference 2019 Discussion in the UBC Global Lounge. Free Entry with limited space: Registration Required.
“Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of African Diaspora culture with technology. Join us during this Black History Month in delving deeper into the world reimagined by literary greats like Nnedi Okorafor & Octavia Butler. A world that blessed us with Black Panther and the Binti Trilogy. A world that brings together science fiction and fantasy to imagine black lives in the future.”
February 16th: Black Spaces Matter: Panel Discussion at SFU’s Halpern Centre
Presented by the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry, the Black Spaces Matter: Panel Discussion will focus on the importance of safe spaces for Black students on University Campuses. Join the discussion.
February 17th: Mo Train at Eastside Studios
$10-20, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Motown and Soul Train meets Vogue Ball! Presented by Black Lives Matter Vancouver, Man Up, Queer FM, and Burcu’s Angels, this night will be hosted by local drag greats Kendall Gendr and Karmella Barr. Featuring guest speaker Joy Gyamfi from BLM Vancouver, live performances of Motown Hits by Desirée Dawson, DJing by Softieshan, DjG-Luve, and DJ Denise, plenty of drag, and a Soul Train walk off, this will be a night like no other. All proceeds to benefit Black Lives Matter Vancouver.
February 24th: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks at the Chan Centre
$15-58, student tickets available.
In honour of the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her writing, in 1950, No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks is a unique multimedia experience complete with live music (featuring an original score by Chicago-based soul singer Jamila Woods), exquisite shadow puppetry, vintage overhead projectors, actors, live feed cameras, and multi-channel sound design. Featuring a pre-show talk with Jillian Christmas.