Vancouver has quite a diverse array of events, both in-person and virtual, lined up in February to celebrate Black History Month.
First up on February 4 at 10 am is an online celebration of the life of Joe Fortes, Vancouver's first official lifeguard. Presented by the Honorary Consul for Barbados in British Columbia on the 100th anniversary of Fortes' death, the event includes prayer, placing of a wreath, official ceremony, story, and drumming. The event is on Zoom: meeting ID 836 2959 4053, passcode: 2022.
The next day, February 5, will see Dr. June Francis--director of the Institute for Diaspora Research & Engagement at SFU, and a director of Hogan’s Alley Society--speak at a webinar that explores the ways in which the history of Canadian educational institutions have contributed to anti-black racism in the educational system. The Zoom event takes place from 1:30 to 3 pm, and you can register here.
February 8 sees an online talk with Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker and activist Fred Kudjo Kuwornu on the topic of “Black Lives Matter in Italy and the Legacy of Colonialism”. The lecture--hosted by UBC’s Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies with the support of the Dante Alighieri Society of BC--takes place at 11 am and is followed by a Q&A session. You can register for a Zoom link here.
Also taking place online is "Being a Hope Amid Crisis", a conversation with Dr. Cornel West, which takes place February 16 from 5 to 6 pm. West--a professor at Union Theological Seminary who has taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris--will explore themes of economics, democracy, racial justice and Black identity. You can register for the Zoom event here.
AFAM African Fashion Week Vancouver on February 19 features a fashion show and marketplace and art, music, and dance performances. The event takes place at the Newmont Stage Theatre at 7 pm and you can learn more here.
On February 24 the Chan Centre presents Kalabanté: Afrique en Cirque, a performance in which Montréal-based troupe Kalabanté Productions fuses long-established African arts and European circus traditions to showcase exceptional dancers, contortionists, gymnasts, and equilibrists, as well as a group of highly skilled musicians. The event takes place at 8 pm and you can find tickets here.
Also of interest during Black History Month is Sankofa: African Routes, Canadian Roots, which looks at some of the divergent paths of political mobilization and cultural assertion that African and Black people in the diaspora have taken. Centered on works by contemporary artists from Lagos, Nigeria, and Vancouver, the exhibition shares stories, histories, and projects of African and Black affirmation, and draws connections to the growing vitality of Black Canadians in Vancouver. It runs until March 27 at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.
Black History Month at Vancity Theatre offers audiences an opportunity to engage with Black stories from a range of Black voices from around the world. Films screened during February include Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, The Sleeping Negro, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, and Music. Money. Madness - Jimi Hendrix: Experience Live in Maui.