February is Black History Month, and Vancouver is marking the occasion with event offerings that range from film and drag to music and comedy.
Whether it be exploring the roots of Vancouver’s former Black neighbourhood at the VIFF Centre or readings and live music in intimate venues across the city, these events celebrate the countless cultural contributions of the Black community.
Black History Month at VIFF
The VIFF Centre has rolled out its annual Black History Month programming. In a new move, the organization is presenting two series: A New Chapter, curated by Vancouver-based filmmaker Jamila Pomeroy; and Celebrating Black Futures, a partnership between VIFF and the Vancouver Art Gallery, curated by local journalist Kika Memeh. Screenings include Sorry To Bother You, Boots Riley’s narrative feature starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, and Danny Glover in an alternate Oakland that sees a man (Stanfeild) happen upon a magical key to professional success; Mighty Jerome by late Canadian filmmaker Charles Officer; Union Street, a documentary about Black Strathcona that was directed by Pomeroy; and a short film showcase.
Starting February 2 at VIFF Centre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Weekend brunch with a side of drag? Count us in. Vancouver drag superstar Kendall Gender hosts the Visible Drag Brunch: A Black History Month Celebration. Get ready to watch an incredible all-Black cast of drag performers: Acacia Gray, ASS Trix, Batty Banks, Cleopatra Compton, Genesis, Levi Thrust, Mak Daddy, Mx Bukuru, Rich Elle, and Vixen Von Flex. A $45 ticket reserves your seat and gets you a brunch item.
February 3 from noon to 3pm at Good Co. Granville, 965 Granville Street, Vancouver
Little can be told about this show, as is the trick with SOFAR Sounds, which puts on one-of-a-kind concerts in different venues around the city. They unveil event specifics—like lineup and exact location—just 36 hours before each show. All we know: this Black History Month-themed show promises a lot of local talent.
February 22 at 7:30pm, with venue in the Commercial/Broadway area TBA
In partnership with QMUNITY, this Vancouver Public Library event features queer, Black storytellers who will take the stage to share stories. The event promises that “each storyteller will weave a narrative exploring the intersections of their identity, offering the audience the nuances of the Black queer experience.”
February 24 from 1pm to 4pm at the VPL’s Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Drag, DJs, burlesque, and food—four truly great things. Acacia’s Black Parade kicks off Black History Month with performances at The Birdhouse. Drag personas Acacia Gray, Kendall Gender, Batty Banks, Velvet Ryder, Mx Bukuru, Roxy Reverie, Levi Thrust, and Peaches n Screams will take the stage alongside Vancouver DJs Softieshan, Nea, Jiggly, Adam, SAYO, and Injury Prone. Come hungry, as Jamaican Patties from Elbo Patties will be on offer—that is, until they sell out, which they will.
February 2 at 9pm at The Birdhouse, 44 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Canada’s first all-Black comedy tour, the Underground Comedy Railroad, celebrates its 12th anniversary this year. The tour starts in Halifax and makes its way to BC, featuring comics who tackle race and daily life in Canada. This Black History Month show makes a stop at The MOTN, featuring acts Daniel Woodrow, Keesha Brownie, Rodney Ramsey, and Tamara Shevon.
February 24 at 7pm at The MOTN, 1826 Triumph Street, Vancouver