February is Black History Month

black history month 2016Black History Month Montreal is celebrating its quarter century in fine fashion. The 25th edition is chock full of events, plays, music, and other interesting activities.  As its goal Black History Month is looking to educate, open avenues of dialogue, shine a light on problems that still exist, and advocate on behalf of a woefully underrepresented population that has suffered through centuries of racism – overt and systematic.

 

To mark its 25th anniversary the non-profit organization, Round Table on Black History Month, has chosen to recognize 12 organizations/groups/individuals that are fighting for and have made a difference for the black community.  Former mayor Jean Doré (who made his administration open and accessible to the Black community). Black Coalition of Quebec, The Jamaica Association, Black Theatre Workshop, and Quebec Board of Educators are just a sampling of those who are being honoured.

 

The Francophone spokesmen for the Black History Month are comedian Eddy King and rapper/historian Webster with singer Ranee Lee serving as the Anglophone spokeswoman.  These three will serve to make sure that some attention comes to the event which attempts to educate the public on the contribution of the Black community and share their heritage and culture with the rest of the population.

 

Using “Rise and Shine” as the slogan for the Black History Month it will be a call to Montrealers to come out and attend.  Here is a sampling of some of the events:

Alcove

Alcove is a series of live talks, featuring bold, risk-taking entrepreneurs and

creators. They’ve left their mark on the universe thanks to their talents and

values. Held at a secret location, Déborah Cherenfant will share her journey’s

highs and lows, and welcome the audience’s questions – February 11th, 2016 at

9 pm (location is secret).

Blood Drive

50% of children suffering from sickle-cell anemia don’t reach the age of six. This

little-known blood disorder shatters the lives of thousands of Quebec families and

particularly affects Black communities. The traditional Black History Month

Héma-Québec blood drive, held in collaboration with the Sickle Cell Anemia

Association of Quebec, is back – February 20th, 2016 from 10:30 am to 4:30

pm.

Croisée des Bossales

This event is an epicurean meeting, made up of a variety of activities and

focused on the importance of blending cuisines. The Croisée des Bossales ball is

a dinner prepared by Gilles Tolen, Paul-Harry Toussaint, and Loïc Dablé –

February 13th, 2016 at 6 pm.

Doudou Boicel

This poet, painter, and impresario was inspired by legendary musicians that

played in his jazz club, the Rising Sun, including Dizzy Gillespie, Taj Mahal, B.B.

King, Big Mama Thornton, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, and Nina Simone. These

artists allowed him to discover and take pride in the beauty of his Africanness.

Doudou also shares juicy anecdotes about renowned artists who became his

personal friends over the 18 years of the club’s existence – February 4th, 2016

at 5 pm.

Eccentric Tribal Fashion Hair

The history of Black women’s hair, up to the 21st century: a perspective. Whether

braided, curly, straight or wavy, with black hues, mahogany, or blond streaks, the

Black woman uses her roots, culture, music and beliefs to tell the story of her life

through her tresses. She charms with her daring personality and destabilizes with

her eccentricity. Cococristal Boutique accompanied by the House of Helmer

reveal the ebony woman throughout time – February 25th, 2016 at 7 pm.

Honour Before Glory

100 years ago, despite their desire to defend their country, young Blacks weren’t

allowed to enlist in the Canadian army. Documentary film Honour Before Glory

recounts the story of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, the first and only battalion

made up entirely of Black soldiers of African descent. The director, Anthony

Sherwood, will be at the screening – February 7th, 2016 at 2 pm.

Race

Brilliant, theatrical suspense written by David Mamet: A rich white man is

accused of raping a younger African American woman, in a New York hotel

room. Two lawyers – one of them White, the other Black – must decide whether

or not to represent this man. Their exchanges raise very delicate questions,

taking a brutal look at the United States, its racial conflicts, and their implications

for legal and personal relations – February 17th to 28th, 2016 at Théâtre

Duceppe.

Standing on Their Shoulders

The Black Community Resource Centre will be screening 20 short videos

highlighting the vibrant history of the Black population in Montreal’s Little

Burgundy – February 21st, 2016 at 3 pm.

Black Economic Alliance – Accelerating Black Wealth Creation

The International Black Economic Forum is inviting everyone to take part in

wealth creation (as individuals, families, and as a collective). The Black

Economic Alliance wishes to inspire a culture of prosperity within the Black

community in order to increase our economic and social well-being.

 

On February 11th, Nelson Mandela International Day, come discover the

Economic Alliance, in the company of figures from the worlds of business,

culture, academia, and politics – February 11th, 2016 at 6 pm.

 

The 2016 FRO Festival will be home to multidisciplinary activities – from

the visual arts, to music, to theatrical performances, and conferences – all

at Corona Theatre. Festivities begin on February 4th, in the company of

activist Rosa Clemente, followed on February 5th by the launch of a FRO

2016 musical compilation, and scenes from play Flash Nude. On

Saturday, February 6th, iconic group Muzion will close things out with a

performance.

 

The Black Theatre Workshop presents play Binti’s Journey, which tells

the story of a radio star in Malawi whose fate is marked by the death of

her parents, who fall victim to AIDS. Performances will take place at the

Segal Centre on February 11th, 13th, and 14th.

 

On February 23rd, as part of TD Cultural Tuesdays, an exhibition entitled

Porteurs de Lumière, by painter and sculptor Ronald Mevs will be held at

the Arsenal. The exhibition’s vernissage on February 23rd will be an

occasion to take in a performance by slam artist and historian Webster, as

well as a round table hosted by Philippe and Myriam Fehmiu on the role of

the artist in the face of oppression.

 

For more information please check out the Black History Month’s website at www.moishistoiresdesnoirs.com

 

Additional Information:

-Dates:  Entire month of February

-Website:  www.moishistoiresdesnoirs.com

 

Earth’s Natural Wonders – Blu-ray Edition

earths natural wondersIt seems like BBC/PBS have singlehandedly tried to educate people about the wonders of this planet we inhabit. With plenty of nature specials produced by BBC and aired on both stations this is another one to add to that plentiful and high quality stable.

 

Earth’s Natural Wonders, as the title would lead one to believe, examines many of the unique and interesting environments to be found on Earth. It goes deeper and also looks at the effect these environments have on the humans living there.

 

This “trip” takes the viewer from the heights of Mount Everest’s Khumbu Icefall to the length of the Amazon River and then on to the vastness of the Grand Canyon. All told you get to travel within six continents. With each environment they look at they educate you in a simple to follow and interesting way about how each came to be as they are. An interesting facet of this is listening to all the different tests that the inhabitants of the area face. Many those on the outside would have never thought of.

 

As has come to be the norm the cinematography for this is out of this world. Colours are vibrant and the picture clarity is high. Almost makes you feel like you are right there.

Megadeath – Dystopia

megadeathIn this time of geopolitical instability and the world looking at the United States in their run up to the next Presidential election this planet that we humans inhabit has become a place filled with conspiracy theories and general worry. Seizing the moment is Megadeath. Their latest album, the metal band’s fifteenth in their long career, is brimming with conspiracy theories, statements about the Western world being a messed up place and warnings about the future. “Lying in State” features plenty of scathing lyrics. Matching the mood setting lyrics is singer Dave Mustaine’s scornful voice. Thankfully amidst all this doom and gloom are some light moments or the album would almost be too much to take lyrically. Another plus is that Mustaine has surrounded himself with Grade A musicians. Megadeath’s line-up has changed numerous times over the years with some being more capable than others. This one is a winner with guitarist Kiko Loureiro being the best of the bunch. His licks and solos are more than solid throughout the album. Another strong addition is Lamb of God’s drummer Chris Adler. Listening to Dystopia will bring long-time fans back to the early years of the band. “The Threat is Real” is a blistering track that will remind fans that despite a misstep with their previous release, that the band still is a relevant act. This new blood along with the present political climate has furnished the environment that proves that this veteran thrash metal band still has some life in it and something to contribute to music.