Black 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 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).
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
-Dates: Entire month of February