Even though we are experiencing the coldest winter this side of North America has seen in years, Black History Month never fails to warm the souls of Torontonians. There are various events happening all over the city and though we encourage you to sneak a peak of as many shows as you can, Bad Perm is here to narrow down the top five events you need to hit up this month:
1) Hosted by the annual Kuumba Festival, this Friday February 7th is the Kuumba Comedy Night: Celebrating our Identity stand up show with notable acts like Marlon Palmer, Trixx, Nick Reynoldson and Jay Martin. The show will be held at the Harbourfront Centre Brigantine located at 235 Queens Quay West.
2) Running from February 1st to the 28th will be the first ever Black Future Month 3014: Afrofuturism Group Art Exhibition hosted at Regent Park’s newly built art space, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East. Through poetry, photography, graphic arts and video works the exhibition will explore the artistic visions of Afrofuturism and Black sci-fi while also speculating the future of Black people 100 years from now. The exhibit will include works from Danilo McCallum, SoTeeOh, Komi Olaf, Chanel Kennebrew, Ola Ojo, Jordon Clarke, Javid Jah and XYZ/Black Iron Giants. For those interested there will be a panel discussion with all the artists February 9th from 2-5pm.
3) On Sunday February 16th also at Daniels Spectrum Ada Slaight Hall, is the event Syncopation: Black Roots. A live music showcase hosted by the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund celebrating the progress of the Toronto Black music scene from the 1950s to the 1970s. Guest appearances will include Jay Douglas, Crack of Dawn, The EOJ Ensemble featuring Kamil Andre, Archie Allyene’s KOLLAGE and Mustafa the Poet.
4) Thursday February 27th located at the Piston, 937 Bloor St. West is Rap N’ Roll: The Afro Alternative Music Showcase. Hosted by Dalton Higgins, it is an ‘urban alternative’ themed concert that will blend styles of punk, reggae, electro, soul and nouveau-rap. In response to bubblegum hip-hop and R&B production of mainstream media, the concert is a revolutionized approach to urban music. Performances will include, 88 Days of Fortune’s Ayo Leilani, Brendan Phillips, Complaints Dept and Pursuit Grooves.
5) Lastly, for you retro film lovers, Tiff Bell Lightbox is featuring a series of legendary films by African American writer-director-producer Oscar Micheaux. Credited as the only African American filmmaker during the first decades of the 20th century, Micheaux’s films catered to Black audiences with storylines that addressed the racialized culture of American society. To this day Micheaux is celebrated as a socially conscious alternative to degrading mainstream pop culture depictions of Black identity at the turn of the 20th century. A total of eight films will be showcased throughout the month including a discussion piece on his first successful film Within Our Gates.
The month long celebration of Black History is a yearly reminder of the struggles of Black identity in our recent past. Bad Perm proudly commemorates the initiative of Black History Month – but we also work hard to endorse the yearlong celebration of Blackness as a part of our history, present and future.