10 Black History Month events to check out in Metro Vancouver

Jan 27 2023, 11:31 pm

February is Black History Month in Canada, and it’s a great opportunity to share the history, contributions, and culture of Black Canadians.

To help celebrate, we’ve put together a list of fun, unique and informative Black History Month events happening in and around Metro Vancouver.

Make plans to check out Dynamic Diasporas, Louise Rose & Dawn Pemberton, and more.

Black History Month at VIFF Centre

Black Panther

Black Panther/Marvel Studios

What: VIFF Centre presents a month of movies shining a spotlight on Black film, Black film artists, Black thinkers, and activists.

This year’s Black History Month programming includes two series: Icons, which celebrates the accomplishments of American movie stars like Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, and Chadwick Boseman; and Dispatches, which focuses on documentaries, ideas, and social justice.

When: Various dates from February 1 to 28, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: VIFF Centre – 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $10 for students and accessible pricing, $13 for seniors, and $15 for adults. 3-pack of tickets available for $27-$30. Purchase online

Black Futures: Saul Williams, Moor Mother, and Irreversible Entanglements

What: The Chan Centre EXP welcomes acclaimed artists Saul Williams, Moor Mother, and Irreversible Entanglements for an exploration of Black Futures. The collaborative concert will interweave Afrofuturist currents within a continuum of Black music.

When: February 25, 2023
Time: 7 pm
Where: Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for the Performing Arts – 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver
Cost: $13.50-$50, purchase online

African Descent History in BC

What: Surrey Archives hosts guest speaker Yasin Kiraga Misago, president of the African Descent Society of BC for a free virtual presentation. During the one-hour talk, Misago will explore BC.’s early history of African descent, which dates back to 1858, as well as discuss Surrey’s African diaspora story.

When: February 9, 2023
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
Where: Online via Microsoft Teams
Cost: Free, advance registration required

Black History Month Family Day

Coquitlam Heritage

Coquitlam Heritage/Facebook

What: Coquitlam Heritage hosts its fourth annual Black History Month Family Day. Guests will hear live music from a variety of African musical traditions and styles, discover booths from community partners, and try African-inspired treats

The free, all-ages event will also feature face painting, balloon animals, and selfie opportunities with a princess.

When: February 18, 2023
Time: 12 to 3 pm
Where: Victoria Community Hall – 3435 Victoria Drive, Coquitlam
Cost: Free

Songs of Freedom

What: Songs of Freedom, a celebration of Black music and culture at Christ Church Cathedral. The eleventh annual concert in honour of Black History Month features special guests Louise Rose and Khari Wendell McClelland and hosts Marcus Mosely and the Marcus Mosely Ensemble.

When: February 4, 2023
Time: 7:30 to 10 pm
Where: Christ Church Cathedral – 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver
Cost: $42 plus GST and Fees. Purchase online

Out Of The Sun: On Black History And Storytelling

What: BC Black History Awareness Society presents a live-streamed conversation with award-winning novelist Esi Edugyan. The two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and internationally bestselling author will discuss her book, Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling with the live and live-streamed audience. The event will also feature musical performances and a Q&A session.

When: February 21, 2023
Time: 5 to 7 pm
Where: Online
Cost: Free, though donations are being accepted. Purchase online

As We Rise: Photography From The Black Atlantic

Kennedi Carter, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 2020 Digital print on Hanhemüle Photo Rag. From As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021), courtesy of the artist

What: As We Rise is an exhibition organized by Aperture and curated by Elliott Ramsey. The photography exhibit at The Polygon Gallery showcases more than 100 photographs from the Wedge Collection, Canada’s largest privately owned collection committed to championing Black artists.

Discover images chosen from Aperture’s recently published book of the same name, including photographs from African diasporic culture from both sides of the Atlantic.

When: Wednesday to Sunday from February 24 to May 14, 2023
Time: 10 am to 5 pm (open until 8 pm on Thursdays)
Where: The Polygon Gallery – 101 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Admission: By donation

Building Black British Columbia with Social Media

What: Vancouver Public Library hosts a discussion on how BC’s Black community uses social media to organize, connect and celebrate online. The conversation at the Central Branch features Dr. Handel Kashope Wright, the director of UBC’s Centre for Culture; Balqees Jama, an SFU student in Communications and International Studies and one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch; and Debbie Forbes, a community organizer, SFU film graduate, public speaker and moderator.

When: February 15, 2023
Time: 6:30 to 8 pm
Where: Montalbano Family Theatre on level 8 of the Central Library – 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Cost: Free, advance registration required

Periodt: Black Queer Poetry Slam

VMF Winter Arts and Vancouver Winter Pride Festival host a Black Queer Poetry Slam at the Winter Arts Hub at šxwƛ ̓ ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

A draw will be held to choose 10 poets who identify as Black and be a part of the 2SLGBTQAI+ community. There are monetary prizes for the top three winners, and the event will also feature Poet and special guest Stacyann Chin.

When: February 23, 2023
4 to 10 pm
Where: Winter Arts Hub atšxʷƛ̓ ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (Vancouver Art Gallery north plaza)
Cost: Free

Broken Chord

DanceHouse and Vancouver New Music present the Canadian premiere of Broken Chord from renowned South African choreographer and performer Gregory Maqoma and Musical Director Thuthuka Sibisi.

The show will feature four vocal soloists, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and Maqoma telling the story of The African Native Choir. The group toured the world in the 1890s, performing for dignitaries and in opulent venues. However, their success revealed underlying tensions between South Africa and colonial power Great Britain.

When: February 23 to 25, 2023
8 pm
Where: Vancouver Playhouse – 600 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Cost: From $35, purchase online

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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