Photo Cred - ct.counselling.org
Officially instituted in 1995, February is Canada's Black History month. Every year, this month is dedicated to celebrating, experiencing and appreciating black cultures, traditions, and history.
Montreal is an extremely multicultural city, so there's usually plenty of opportunity to appreciate African-American history year round, but this month there's a seemingly endless amount of exhibitions, shows and films. For your convenience, we've found 15 things you can do this month to celebrate black history.
1. Project Angelou
When: February 3, 8:00pm - 12:00am
Where: Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 3755 Botrel
A vocal jazz show performed by Helena Allan with a contemporary tribute to Maya Angelou, an important figure in African-American literature of the 50-60's. Helena puts into music Angelou's poems using selected contemporary jazz pieces that echo the power of the author's message, and of her life, dedicated to the defence of jazz and civil rights.
2. Have Fingers, Will Travel: A Tribute to Oliver Jones
When: Until February 12, Weekdays 9:00am-5:00pm, Weekends 9:00am-2:00pm
Where: Hôtel de Ville de Montréal, 275 rue Notre-Dame E
A tribute to the Canadian jazz pianist and composer, featuring a historical component, the exhibition will be presented on two occasions: in February at Montreal City Hall; and again from April 3rd to May 4th, 2015 in Place des Arts' Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, with an added artistic component.
Photo Cred - Quartier des Spectacles
3. Cinema Muét
When: February 6 and February 13, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: Cinémathèque Québécoise, 335 Maisonneuve E
Price: Regular $10, Students $9
Cinémathèque Québecoise will be holding four silent-film sessions dedicated to productions made by African-American filmmakers during the 1920’s. These are rare, exceptional and fascinating documents on loan from Washington DC's Library of Congress, as well as Rochester's George Eastman House.
4. Still I Rise
When: February 20, 18:00 - 20:00
Where: Universal Negro Improvement Association, 2741 Notre Dame Street O
"Still I Rise" is an evening of gestures and performances based on the multiple meanings of Black resistance and achievements embodied in the poetry of Maya Angelou. Performances by Black Theatre Workshop, Odessa Thornhill, Jonathan Emile, Coco Thompson, Dr. Clarence Bayne, Julian Macintosh, Fred Anderson and more. Mervyn Weekes will serve as master of ceremonies.
5. Fashion’s Night Out
When: February 20, 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Where: Helmer, 2020 Saint-Laurent
Touring with her Spring-Summer 2015 collection “Positive-Negative”, Tmel Collections’ Melissa Etienne will stop by Montreal during Black History Month, for a cash-and-carry fashion show at Galerie Boutique Helmer. Her latest collection of clothing, jewelry and handbags is inspired by the Carnival and reflects the designer’s Haitian roots.
6. Racines Bèlè, Racines Noires
When: February 22, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: Nyata Nyata, 4374 Saint-Laurent
Stemming from various regions of Africa, Bèlè is a part of a long lineage of cultural expression and of resistance by the black slaves deported in the Antilles in the 18th century. This workshop of cultural dances will be followed by a gourmet snack to reward your efforts.
7. Phantom of the Museum
When: February 13, 7:00pm and February 21, 6:00pm
Where: Musée De La Femme, 2380 Roland-Therrien
This exhibition tells the story of Marie-Josephe-Angelique, who in 1734 became the only black slave to be executed in New France. Go and learn a little-known part of Quebec’s history.
8. Édouard Glissant ou l’identité plurielle
When: February 1-14, 5:00pm- 8:00pm
Where: Espace Mushagalusa, 533 Ontario E
Price: $30 in advance, $40 at the door
Works of writer and poet Édouard Glissant will be heard and then discussed with the author afterward. Non alcoholic cocktails and finger-food will also be served.
9. Fro Festival 2015
When: February 1
Where: La Grande Bibliothèque de Montreal, 475 Maisonneuve E
Returning for it’s third year, Fro Festival features artists from the Montreal urban scene as well as international artists. This innovative concept hopes to bridge the gaps between cultures and generations with conferences, hip-hop, visual art, theatre and poetry.
Photo Cred - Kanpe
10. Kanaval Kanpe
When: February 20, 9:00pm-3:00am
Where: Société des Arts Technologiques, 1201 Saint-Laurent
Escape to Haiti without leaving town. Featuring DJ Windows 98 (Arcade Fire’s Win Butler), Poirier and Fwonte alongside Sandy Duperval, rara dancing, as well as percussionists and kompa artists. There will also be an onsite market featuring Haitian products, and a silent auction with exclusive items. Profits from Kanval will be donated to Foundation Kanpe.
11. Documentary Exhibition
When: Weekdays 10:00-21:00, Weekends 09:00-17:00
Where: Bibliothèque Publique de Dollard Des Ormeaux, 12001 Salaberry
Librarians in the adult and youth section of the library will lead the public through displays of documents related to Black and African American History.
12. Casque Noir - Kas Nwa
When: Weekdays 09:00-17:00, Weekends 10:00-17:00
Where: La Tohu, 2345 Jarry E
Artisans from Montreal and Port-au-Prince partner to launch an educational and artistic project of urban changes. Casque Noir features young creators from 12 to 18 years old, using all their talents (engineering, architecture, drawing, conception, photography, filming, literature) to create educational and informative art.
13. Raconte-moi Haïti…et Montréal
When: Weekday: 10:00-17:00, Weekend 10:00-17:00
Where: Centre D’Histoire de Montreal, 335 place D’Youville
Price: Regular $6, Student/Children $4
An exhibition combining photographs, paintings, and art installations, as well as a documentary that tells a story of adaptability and integration by Haitians arriving in Montreal following the January 12, 2010 earthquake.
14. Miss Africa Montreal
When: February 7, 6:30-11:30
Where: Place Des Arts, 175 Sainte-Catherine O
A cultural gala and show with various artistic performances, highlighting African, Caribbean and West Indian culture through fashion, dance, music and poetry. Eric M'boua will be the official presenter.
Photo Cred - Henri Rakotomalala
15. Pitch Black
When: February 28, 8:00pm-11:00pm
Where: Salle Claude-Léveillée de la Place des Arts, 175 Sainte-Catherine O
An evening of spoken word, music, comedy and dance. This bilingual showcase featuring installation art will take place in the pitch darkness of Montreal’s Cinémathèque Québécoise. Artists from various genres will perform works that explore the concepts of darkness and identity. Guests include Dramatik, Samian, Sam I Am, Fabrice Koffy and many more.