Montreal celebrates Black History month in local style with a festival. Like many events that focus on minority groups, Black History month is about generating awareness that carries into the rest of the year. Every single day are exhibitions, film, dance, theatre, and music celebrating black history in all its diversity, though there is special attention paid to Haiti and Martinique.
Here are our picks for each day.
Start the festival on a low-key (okay, a totally on-key) event. Cool jazz singer Kim Richards performs weekly at Diese Onze accompanied by close friends. Sultry tunes, great jams, and an all-around good vibe abounds. Diese Onze (4115 A St. Denis) 9:30-11 p.m.
Out in the Night screens at Cinema Politica. The film looks at a group of four black lesbian women who were given unusually harsh sentences after they defended themselves against a homophobic attacker. Concordia University H 110 1455 Maisonneuve. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. pwyc
Jazz again? Yes please. This time Swiss singer and composer Helena Allan performs a jazz tribute to ever quotable author Maya Angelou. Angelou combined truth and civil rights with good writing. You have undoubtedly heard her famed book I know why the caged bird sings. Now go read it. Maison de la culture NDG (3755 Bortel) 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Check out blog Parle ton Parle, by Natacha Odonnat. Each day promises to feature a profile of a black woman or man each day of the month of February.
Plural Identities. An Evening with Edouard Glissant. This event is for the teens among us. For the first half of February, 10 artists are showcasing their art books inspired by the work of late Martinican poet, writer, and critic Edouard Glissant. Glissant spent time between Martinique, Paris, and New York and among his many accomplishments ran a cultural centre dedicated to the history of the slave trade in Paris. This event allows the artists to meet over non-alcoholic cocktails and finger food. Espace Mushagalusa (533 Ontario E) 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. $40/30/20
Film buffs should hit the four silent films from the 1920s showcasing at the Cinema Quebecoise. These rare films are on loan from the Library of Congress and the George Eastman House. Cinematheque Quebecoise (335, boulevard de Maisonneuve est
). 6:30-8:30 p.m. $10/9
The Fro Festival launches its music compilation of 2015 along with a play “black” by Marilyn Chery. La Grande Bibliotheque de Montreal (475 De Maisonneuve E). 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. $12.
Takadja brings Tales of Africa, a music and dance show featuring costumes, dance, acrobatics, and traditional songs and instruments from West Africa. La Grande Bibliotheque de Montreal (475 De Maisonneuve E). 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. free.
Jean-Sebastien Ouellet’s 2013 documentary “L’art fait du bien/ Art is good” screens at Cinema Beaubien. The film looks at 7 different stories where art enriches the lives of everyday and extraordinary people. Among those are a man with Alzheimer’s disease, a woman suffering from Down’s syndrome, and a multi-ethnic girl. Cinema Beaubien (2396 Beaubien E). 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $20
Haitian photography is on exhibit in ST. Henri. CEDA (2515 Delisle). 8 p.m. – 9p.m. daily. Free
More Haitian art is on exhibit at La Tohu. Here, in partnership with Port-au-Prince, the works of 12-18 year olds in Casque Noir showcase their works. La Tohu (2345 Jary E). 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Free.
Another art exhibit worth checking out is Have Fingers, Will Travel, a tribute to Oliver Jones. Hotel de Ville (275 Notre Dame E) 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Free.
The Ghosts of the Museum: Marie Joseph Angelique is a one-woman drama about the only black slave executed in New France following a conflagration in Montreal. She was accused of arson, though her innocence (or guilt) in the crime remains one of Canada’s great unsolved mysteries. The topic was covered in The Hanging of Angelique, a book that won widespread attention for bringing the issue back to the public eye. Musee de la Femme (2380 Roland Therien, Longueuil). 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. $10
For Valentines Day, it only seems suitable to highlight Love is a Destination. The event includes a market by local designers as well as musical performances. Espace Mushagalusa (533 Ontairo E). 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. free.
Haiti again comes into the spotlight with Raconte-moi Haiti… et Montreal, an exhibit combining photographs, paintings, art installations, and a documentary on Haitian immigration in Montreal following the 2010 earthquake. Centre d’Histoire de Montreal (335 place d’Youville). 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
McGill hosts a forum on race called Discourses of Race: The United States, Canada, and Transnational Anti-Blackness. The event was created under the power of many different student groups, including the McGill Black Students’ Network, the McGill Debating Union, Media@Mcgill, and Women of Colour Collective at McGill Law School. Expect lively discussions and thoughtful panels with speakers and scholars including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dr. Charmaine Nelson, Dr. Darryl Leroux, and Rachel Zellars. SSMU (3600 McTavish) 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. free
Powerful film Malcolm X screens at the MAI along with a conference that explores the activist’s journey and assassination. MAI (3680 Jeanne Mance) 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. free.
Francokaraibes lanch “Racines Bele, Racines Noires” at the Union Francaise de Montreal. This song-dance-storytelling event looks at the Martinique culture known as Le Bele. Ethnomusicologist Etienne Jean-Baptiste and artist/singer/dancer Stella Gonis are on hand to discuss Bele. Union Francaise (429 Viger E). 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. free.
Le Retour Chez Soi is a photography exhibit of the works of Odile Jalbert on Human trafficking. Women and children are its chief victims. Centre Cultural Simon Bolivar (394 Maisonneuve W) 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
A highlight every year in Montreal is Haitian Kanaval Kanpe in its third edition. DJ Windows 98 (Win Butler), Poirier, Fwonte will be on hand, as well as other Haitian style artists. A silent auction raises money for Fondation KNAPE, a foundation that aims to end the cycle of poverty in Haiti by helping impoverished villages with opportunities, funds, and resources. SAT (1201 St. Laurent) 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. $40
Harriet Tubman gets her due with Black Theatre Worskshop’s The Power of Harriet T. Michael Miller tells the story of the 1850s underground railroad leader who helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom and who inspired countless others. Black Community Resource Centre (6767 Cote des Neiges) 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. $10/6
The Phi Centre hosts the Youth Stars Foudnation’s Soul Festival of art, music, and movie screenings about the black community. Corneille, Shaharah, Slim Williams, Marco Voicy, and Sara MK provide the beats. Phi Centre (407 St. Pierre) Feb 19-22. $0-15
Author Frank Mackey hosts a conference “Done with Slavery: The Black Fact in Montreal” Chateau Ramezay (280 Notre Dame E). 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. $5.
Get ready for a book launch and some Haitian music at UQAM where Claude Dauphin launches Histoire style musical d’Haiti. The book is more than just a research work, but also a reflection and analysis of this diverse musical tradition. UQAM Vitrine (405 St. Catherine E). 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. free.
Dr. Ibrahim Farajaje is on hand to lead a conference and discussion on queer, post-colonial heritage. Farajaje is a professor, openly bisexual, and Muslim. This event is a component of Massimadi, the international festival of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans Afro-Caribeans showing at Cinema du Parc from February 17-28. Cinema du Parc. 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. free
Haitian Fashion designer Malou Cadet showcases her works at Galerie 203 (227 Notre Dame W). 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Even though there’s one day left in the month, the closing night of Black History month takes place at Musee Grevin. A five course menu is on hand for those invited to attend this special event, cooked by Jouvens Jean, an American-Haitian chef. (Eaton Centre, 705 St. Catherine W). 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
On the Nuit Blanche, we end with Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata under the direction Zab Maboungou Mozongi. Mozongi shows a piece called Return. Maison culturelle et communtaire de Montreal Nord (12004 Blvd Rolland) 8 p.m – 9p.m. Free.