Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their important role in U.S. history. The event was originally the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Following is a list of Los Angeles events and cultural institutions participating in Black History Month.
AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (FEBRUARY 2023)
Presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), African American Heritage Month is a City of Los Angeles cultural celebration that runs concurrently with Black History Month. Many DCA events are included in the Black HIstory Month list - for a complete schedule of African American Heritage Month online and in-person events, visit the DCA website.
Black History Month Prosperity Market - CAAM (Feb. 25, 2023)
Located at Exposition Park in Downtown LA, the California African American Museum (CAAM) exists to research, collect, preserve and interpret the history, art and culture of African Americans. The museum's permanent collection houses 4,000 objects that span landscape painting and portraiture, modern and contemporary art, historical objects and print materials, and mixed-media artworks.
On view in the CAAM atrium through May 7, because i am that is a two-person exhibition by Adee Roberson and Azikiwe Mohammed. Featuring screenprints, paintings, video, window vinyl, and a mix of sculptural works, because i am that is an organic environment that will evolve to include additional collaborators in performance, movement and sound.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROSPERITY MARKET
Taking place at CAAM from 11am to 3:30pm on Saturday, February 25, the Black History Month Prosperity Market features Black farmers, prepared foods, artisan goods, cooking demos, DJ and kids corner. Wellness offerings include group meditation, sound bath and hour-long yoga session (bring your own mat). More info and RSVP for this free event at the CAAM website.
Helen Cammock - Art + Practice (Feb. 11 - Aug. 5, 2023)
Founded by artist Mark Bradford, philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, and community activist Allan DiCastro, Art + Practice (A+P) is a nonprofit foundation based in Leimert Park Village. A+P supports the needs of South L.A. foster youth and provides the community with access to museum-curated contemporary art.
As part of a five-year collaboration with CAAM, A+P presents Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul, the first U.S. exhibition of the Turner Award-winning British artist. I Will Keep My Soul features film, poetry, performance, archival documents, and books rooted in the social history, geography, and community of New Orleans, a place that Cammock visited for the first time in January 2022.
Los Angeles Public Library (February 2023)
In collaboration with DCA, numerous branches of the Los Angeles Public Library are hosting online events for African American Heritage Month, including Book Club readings, movie screenings, arts & crafts, and panel discussions.
Highlights of events at the historic Central Library in Downtown LA include:
- World Cinema Series screening of Tazzeka (Feb. 11)
- Quotes on a Tote Vinyl Cutter Demo (Feb. 11)
- African and African American Tales With Michael D. McCarty (Feb. 18)
- Architect Paul R. Williams - Marie Northrup Lecture Series (Feb. 19)
For a complete list of events, visit the LAPL Calendar.
6th Annual Black History Month Festival (Feb. 19, 2023)
Open Arms Food Pantry and Resource Center presents the 6th Annual Black History Month Festival, taking place from 11am to 6pm on Sunday, February 19 at the newly-renovated Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex (formerly known as the Rancho Cienega Recreation Center).
With a focus this year on Health & Wellness and Literature, the festival includes workshops, panel discussions, a book fair, Afrikan Marketplace and live performances. More than 20 social service agencies will be on-site to provide L.A. County residents with housing, food, employment resources and community distribution hosted by Open Arms.
Free entry to the festival, RSVP/donate to Open Arms at Eventbrite.
"Regeneration: Black Cinema, 1898–1971" - Academy Museum (through July 16, 2023)
Now on view at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Regeneration: Black Cinema, 1898–1971 explores the rich history of Black participation in U.S. cinema from its beginnings to just beyond the civil rights movement. Inspired by and named after an independent all-Black-cast movie from 1923, Regeneration seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers and performers for a contemporary audience.
The 225+ original objects on view in the exhibition include photographs, scripts, drawings, costumes, movie-making equipment, posters and original contemporary artworks. Two augmented reality experiences have been designed specifically for Regeneration - one looks at the geography of early Black film production and the other offers a taste of vintage Black Hollywood’s glamour. The Academy Museum has also created a complementary Regeneration microsite, which features a wide range of informational and educational assets.
"Kehinde Wiley: Colorful Realm" - Roberts Projects (through April 8, 2023)
Roberts Projects recently moved from Culver City to a historic 1948 building on La Brea in Mid-Wilshire. Three times the size of the gallery's former space, the new 10,000 square-foot venue features four exhibition spaces, a bookshop, and a permanent site-specific space conceived by the trailblazing artist Betye Saar.
The new location's inaugural exhibition, Kehinde Wiley: Colorful Realm marks the acclaimed artist's sixth show with the gallery. Inspired by Japanese nature paintings of the Edo period (c.1600–1868), Wiley parallels traditional techniques and materials in nine monumental paintings. Exposed linen highlights the depicted natural scenes while also preserving the delicate balance of the untouched picture space. Wiley says, "So much of my work is about appearance and showing up and being visible, and this dance between exploring the vastness of space within the minimality of this technique I find to be an interesting juxtaposition." The exhibition is named for Itō Jakuchū’s renowned Images of the Colorful Realm of Living Beings (c. 1757-1766).
Art Delectables (Feb. 13, 2023)
Add a sweet touch to your Black History Month and Valentine's Day festivities with Art Delectables. The female-led, Black and family-owned business is celebrating the soft opening of their first Grab N Go Bakery (6517 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles 90045) on Tuesday, February 13 with complimentary slices of cake in honor of founder Chef Simone's birthday! Art Delectables was the exclusive dessert vendor for the 2022 Super Bowl VIP tailgate party, and recently provided desserts for the 2023 GRAMMY Awards.
The Grab N Go Bakery menu features the incredible cheesecake bar, where guests can add a topping from an array of choices like caramel rum, sweet dark cherry, Dulce De Leche, chocolate ganache, peach cobbler, blueberry compote, and more. Gluten-free and vegan options are available.
Pan African Film & Arts Festival (Feb. 9-20, 2023)
Now in its 31st year, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) will take place in-person February 9-20 at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. PAFF is renowned as America’s largest Black History Month event and the largest Black film festival. Each year, the festival screens more than 200 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe and Canada, and increasingly Asia.
Centered on this year's "PAFF Reimagined" theme, the festival will open with Chevalier (2023) at the Director's Guild of America on Thursday, February 9. The Centerpiece Screening of Strange Love (2022) will take place at Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD on Wednesday, February 15. For the full slate of features and short films, visit the PAFF website.
Other PAFF events include:
- ChildrenFest - Free screenings for children on February 11 and 18.
- SeniorFest - Select free screenings for seniors 62 and older.
- SpokenwordFest - Poetry slam featuring the best poets in LA on Saturday, Feb. 18.
- Fashion Show - Trendy African-inspired fashion at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Feb. 19.
"Fabric of a Nation" - Skirball Cultural Center (through March 12, 2023)
Now on view at the Skirball Cultural Center, Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories features works by more than 40 artists, including Harriet Powers, Bisa Butler and Sanford Biggers. Discover the extraordinary stories behind three hundred years of American quilts, and celebrate the artistry and vision of a diverse, largely under-recognized group of creators in an exhibition that brings to light stories that enrich, deepen, and complicate our understanding of the American experience.
The Kinsey Collection Experience - SoFi Stadium
Considered one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its kind, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection is the inspired work of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey.
Opened at SoFi Stadium in February 2022, the Kinsey Collection Experience is a 100,000 square-foot exhibition that features fine art, sculptures, photographs, rare books, and letters spanning the 16th century through the years of slavery and emancipation to the civil rights movement and the present day. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.
Battleship IOWA: Gravely Celebration Experience (Feb. 9, 2023)
There is no better place in Los Angeles to celebrate and commemorate the impact African Americans have had in the United States Navy and to this country than Battleship IOWA, located at the L.A. Waterfront in San Pedro. The “Battleship of Presidents” is the same ship where Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, the first African American to command a Navy warship, served during his illustrious Naval career.
On Thursday, February 9, local high school students are invited to the Gravely Celebration Experience - a special luncheon featuring a panel of diverse individuals discussing their inspirations and motivations to break through societal barriers and find success. The panel will be moderated by Tanya Acker, co-host of CBS’ Hot Bench and host of The Tanya Acker Show podcast. The event will include a Q&A session during which students may directly engage the panel speakers. Participating students will receive a free box lunch and beverage to enjoy during the panel. RSVP at the Gravely Celebration Experience website.
Special guest speakers:
- Commander Warren N. Wright
- Commander WarRear Admiral, Lower Half (Ret) Sandy Adams, USN
- Kamin Samuel PHD, RTT, CLHYP RADM
- Sinclair Harris, USN (Ret.), VP of Client Relations, LMI
African American Festival - Aquarium of the Pacific (Feb. 25-26, 2023)
The Aquarium of the Pacific will host its 20th annual African American Festival on Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26. Celebrating the richness and diversity of African American and African cultures, the weekend will feature live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more. Featured performances include hip hop and breakdancers, Mardi Gras second line dancers, live jazz, interactive drum circles, West African dance and cultural storytelling.
The festival is taking place from 9am to 5pm on both days and is included with paid General Admission and free to Aquarium members.