Black History Month Dreams Bigger

February Packed With Events Celebrating History, Culture

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo playing Friday at l’Astral. Photo Leslie Schachter

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo playing Friday at l’Astral. Photo Leslie Schachter

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo playing Friday at l’Astral. Photo Leslie Schachter

For fifty years, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream has become more of a reality, but Montreal’s Black History Month reminds us the road to social equality isn’t over.

This year’s theme, “Now Is the Time,” alludes to King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

Throughout February, workshops, conferences, exhibits, films, concerts and comedy shows will take place around the city, promoting the diverse cultures of Montreal’s black communities and the accomplishments of black Montrealers.

The 22nd edition of Black History Month features accomplished musician and actor Dawn Tyler Watson as this year’s English spokesperson.

A Concordia Jazz Studies and Theatre grad, Watson performed as part of last year’s Afrophylia concert series at Old Montreal’s Piano Rouge lounge.

Born in England and raised in London, ON, Watson identifies as a Canadian, despite growing up in a Jamaican/West Indian household.

“Until I came to Montreal, I wasn’t that aware of diversity because, coming from a small town, there was not a huge [multicultural] community there,” she said. “It was a bit of a culture shock for me.”

Watson recently learned that she was adopted; her late biological mother was Irish and her biological father is from Trinidad. While she admits she has always had a passion for Irish music, she feels disconnected from her biological and adoptive parents’ cultures.

“[My family] tried very hard, like a lot of immigrants, to assimilate,” she said.

“I’m kind of shy to say that my awareness of what it means to be a black person in Montreal and in Canada, including our history, is not something I’m very aware of.”

Michael Farkas, president of The Round Table on Black History Month, a non-profit that promotes events throughout February, says Montreal’s Black History Month has had to reinvent itself in recent years.

In the last four years, Farkas said, The Round Table has used social media to refresh and stimulate its image and program and increase the visibility of Black History Month.

“We have been able to galvanize our strength together, from the churches to the different organizations to somewhat have an agreement over different issues, such as racial profiling,” said Farkas.

Look below for our breakdown of some of the affordable events happening throughout the month.

Black History Month Calendar

EXHIBITS

Ebony Writers
Feb. 1 to Feb. 16
Hôtel de Ville de Montréal (275 Notre-Dame St. E.)
8:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. weekdays / 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekend
Free

I Have a Dream: The Exhibit
Feb. 5 to Feb. 18
Espace Georges-Émile-Lapalme de la Place des Arts (175 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Free

Benoit Aquin: Haïti. Chaos et quotidien
Feb. 28
Musée McCord (690 Sherbrooke St. W.)
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
$14.00 regular / $8.00 student

MUSIC

Cody Chesnutt
Feb. 12
Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur St. E.)
8:00 p.m.
$20.00

Afrophylia 2013: Henri-Pierre Noel
Feb. 15
Piano Rouge (22 St. Paul St. E.)
10:00 p.m.
$12.00

DANCE

Les Beaux Dimanches Dans Le Métro: Haitian Dance
Feb. 24
Place-des-Arts Metro Station
2:00 p.m.
Free

COMEDY

The Underground Comedy Railroad: Montreal Edition
Feb. 17
Jimbo’s ComedyWorks (1238 Bishop St.)
9:00 p.m.
$15.00 advance / $20.00 door

FILM

La Pirogue by Moussa Touré
Feb. 8 to 28
Cinéma Ex-Centris (3536 St. Laurent Blvd.)
6:00 p.m.
$9.75 regular / $9.25 student

Cinema Politica: United States of Africa
Feb. 11
Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., H-110)
7:00 p.m.
PWYC

Cinema Politica: Call Me Kuchu
Feb. 25
Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., H-110)
7:00 p.m.
PWYC

Dark Girls
Feb. 26
Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)
6:00 p.m.
$15.00

THEATRE

Oroonoko by Paul Van Dyck
Feb. 6 to 17
MAI (3680 Jeanne-Mance St., #103)
8:00 p.m.
$25.00 regular / $20.00 student

CONFERENCES

Angela Davis: Fro 2013
Feb. 18
L’Astral (305 Ste. Catherine St. W.)
6:00 p.m.
$15.00

Dark Girls: Round Table
Feb. 25
Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., seventh floor)
6:00 p.m.
Free

OTHER

Blood Donation
Feb. 16
Comité d’éducation aux adultes de la Petite-Bourgogne et de St-Henri (2515 Delisle St.)
10:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m.

Black History Month Closing Party
March 1
BluePrint Lounge (1438 Bleury St.)
9:00 p.m.
$10.00

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