February has dawned, and while it may not be everyone's favourite time of the year (because it's usually incredibly cold), there is always a silver lining to the month of February, because it's also Black History Month.
Entering its 25th edition, Black History Month/Le Mois de l'Histoire des Noirs celebrates the achievements of Black communities and individuals from Quebec and around the world. A variety of events are held throughout the month, from fashion shows to theatrical plays to musical performances, with nearly 150 organized in total.
Below you'll find some of the larger, high-profile events to check out, but be sure to head to the Montreal Black History Month official website for a full rundown of activities, too.
The Best Soul, Motown & Disco hits with the Freddie James Project
463 Sainte-Catherine W (Le Balcon)
Take a trip back to the 70s through the musical stylings of Freddie James and his band who will be performing some of the most popular soul tracks of the era, including songs by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.
Standing On Their Shoulders Video Launch
6767 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges
In an effort to highlight and celebrate the Black, English-speaking community of Little Burgundy, the Black Community Resource Centre has launched the Standing On Their Shoulders video project. Comprised of twenty videos created youth artists, each will showcase a moment of history in a creative manner.
175 Sainte Catherine W (Théâtre Jean-Duceppe)
This joint collaboration between Montréal en Lumière and Black History Month will let you see a performance of David Mamet's Race, a critically acclaimed play set in NYC that delves into the racial conflicts found in the modern United States.
The play's narrative follows the story of two lawyers, one who is black and the other white, who must choose whether or not to defend a man accused of raping a young African American woman. Throughout the story, the issues concerning "race and the lies we tell each other on the subject" (as stated by Mamet) are analyzed and discussed.
175 Sainte-Catherine W
In this special exhibition, twelve women who have influenced the history of Canadian music will be honoured, making for an engaging and enlightening event that's also entirely free.
Le Grand Bal de la Croisée des Bossales
265 St-Jacques (Théâtre St-James)
You'll find a little bit of everything at this event, including live music, a fashion show, and even an afterparty. But the main aspect is the food, as four international chefs will craft an Afro-Caribbean meal of eight different dishes.
Mode Coiffure Tribal Excentrique
445 Saint Pierre
History is told through hair in this special theatrical exhibition that traces the cultural and personal stories told through the hair of black women up to the 21st century, along with their influence on the fashion world at-large.
Rising Sun Doudou Boicel
2060 Aylmer (House of Jazz)
Author Doudou Boicel will regale audiences with excerpts from two of his books at this special literary event. The first is Paroles & Poèmes, a semi-autobiographical ode to legendary jazz musicians, while the second novel has a stronger Montreal-focus, titled The True Story of Montreal's First International Jazz & Blues Festival, where Boicel recounts anecdotes from his time as operator of the Rising Sun Jazz Club.
A monthly secret-ish event that brings together successful entrepreneurs, influencers, and craftspeople in a conversation pertaining to personal and professional growth, the Black History Month edition of Alcove will feature fashion editor and creative director Déborah Cherenfant as a main speaker.
Fro Festival 2016
2490 Notre-Dame W (Corona Theatre)
Taking over Corona Theatre for three full days, the 2016 Fro Festival will feature something different every day, including an inspiring discussion from special guest Rosa Clemente, a theatrical performance of Montreal-created play Flash Nude, and a performance by acclaimed hip-hop group MUZION
576 Sainte-Catherine E
Now entering its eighth year running, Massimadi is a LGBTQ-Afro-Caribbean film festival devoted to showcasing the lives of queer individuals from Black communities through documentaries and fictional works. Running for eleven days, a wide variety of films will be presented, many of which you won't be able to see anywhere else.