February 2017 marks the 26th anniversary of Black History Month in Montréal, and this year’s edition features a full slate of film screenings, art exhibitions, concerts and other special events. This year’s theme is “Here we stay, here we stand!”
Here are some highlights during BHM 2017:
Montréal’s famed Festival Nuits d’Afrique presents the Afrique en Cirque with Kalabanté, a multi-media spectacle combining dance, acrobatics and digital projections to the rhythmic sounds of percussion, at the Olympia Theatre on February 17.
The oldest professional Black theatre company in Canada, Montréal’s Black Theatre Workshop is performing the English-language play Bluenose in schools from February 6 to March 3. There are also two public matinees on February 18 at 1 pm and 3 pm. Bluenose is a musical aimed at a young audience. Through a group of pirates – including one called Bluenose – it explores themes of difference and acceptance.
The ninth annual Massimadi Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ film and arts festival runs February 21 to March 4 at various venues. “Massimadi” comes from the contraction of two pejorative Haitian Creole words: masisi, for gay, and madivinez, for lesbian. Organizers combined them in a bid to reclaim both words when they founded Canada’s first (and only) black LGBT film festival back in 2009. This year’s program includes the films KIKI and Strike a Pose, the acclaimed documentary about the male dancers on Madonna’s 19930 Truth or Dare Tour.
One of Montreal’s most beloved soul divas, Sylvie Desgroseilliers, stars in the Women of Soul tribute at Le Balcon Cabaret Music Hall downtown on February 4. Desgroseilliers is such a good singer, when she shared the stage with Patti LaBelle at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, LaBelle went up to Desgroseilliers – onstage – and told her, “Never stop singing!” Throughout Black History Month, the music of Black culture (soul, gospel, funk, Motown, jazz, disco, R&B) will be celebrated at Le Balcon with Slim Williams (Feb. 14), Kim Richardson (Feb. 18), the Imani Gospel Singers choir (Feb. 21), Dawn Tyler Watson (Feb. 25) and many others.
Ivorian roots-reggae sensation Sekouba Bolomba headlines the Groove Nation nightclub on February 10.
The Coloured Women’s Club of Montreal, the oldest Black women’s organization in Canada, founded in 1902 by a group of American women whose husbands worked for the railroad as porters, presents its Black History Month Soirée with award-winning American performer Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux whose one-woman show re-enacts such historical figures as Harriet Tubman, Lavinia Bell (who fled to Montreal) and Cathay Williams (Buffalo Soldier), Feb 25 at the Centre communautaire de Côte-des-Neiges.
Join us at @NeverApartMTL on Thu, Jan 26th for the Winter Exhibitions Vernissage (event link in bio 1/25/17) and see exhibitions by African LGBTQ festival Massimadi, including Limit(less) by Mikael Owunna @mikaelowunna. . Limit(less) explores how LGBTQ African immigrants navigate their identities and find ways to overcome the supposed “tension” between their LGBTQ and African identities through their visual aesthetics and expression. The project seeks to visually deconstruct the colonial binary that has been set up between LGBTQ and African identities. . Mikael is a Nigerian-Swedish American photographer and writer based in Washington D.C. . Mikael’s photography specializes in documentary and portrait work. His mission with his photography is to elevate marginalized community voices. . In this exhibition titled Limit(less), Mikael is exploring the fashion and style of LGBTQ African immigrants and working to debunk the myth that being LGBTQ is “un-African”. . #massimadi #africanlgbtq #art #artist #performance #painting #music #video #fashion #film #culture #unity #montreal #mileex #mileend #neverapart #entrepreneur #creative #creativity #startup #nonprofit #installation #exhibition #gallery #design
The Never Apart gallery in Mile Ex has three exhibitions of interest during BHM: Limit(less) explores how LGBTQ African immigrants navigate their identities; Serious Things A Go Happen: Three Decades Of Dancehall Street Signs; and Assemblage by artist Sandra Brewster which explores the “golden age of the 1960s and 70s of African diaspora.”
Beginning on February 24, the Galerie de l’UQAM and curator Louise Déry present Scottish artist Graham Fagen’s first solo exhibition in Canada, The Slave’s Lament, which consists of a video installation accompanied by music that’s emblematic of his research on the slave trade, the inhumane treatment of deported populations, and on Scottish involvement in Jamaica. This major work allows for a rich examination of the motifs that put national and cultural identities at odds.
To close BHM, the inaugural Gala Dynastie will honour remarkable Black Montrealers and Quebecers from the worlds of culture, business, media, sports, and community work, nominated in 17 categories in a star-studded award show at the Olympia Theatre on March 5.
The annual BHM blood drive will be held at the Centre CEDA (2515 Delisle) in Little Burgundy, February 18 from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Check out the complete schedule for Black History Month at www.moishistoiredesnoirs.com