As African Heritage Month kicks off this year, you’re in luck: Halifax has no shortage of fun, informative and dynamic ways to celebrate and centre facets of the Black experience. In particular, the following 9 events have caught Team Coast’s eye as can’t-miss Sure Things:
Calypso celebration (Feb 2)
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 hosts this celebration of Caribbean music that, as organizers put it, sees “Trinidadian-born saxophonist and composer Jesse Ryan teams up with pianist Eddie Bullen and percussionist Garreth Burgess for a deep dive into the connections between jazz and Afro-Caribbean music.” The free event kicks off at 7pm, but pre-registration secures your spot.
Tango With Me screening (Feb 6)
Bedford Public Library shows this Nigerian flick that was nominated for five African Movie Academy Awards in 2011. It tells the story of a perfect couple’s wedding day—which veers off-course as a case of mistaken identity escalates. See it at 5:30pm.
BIPOC Monthly Book Club (Feb 8)
Venus Envy and South House have combined forces to deliver this closed-space, registration-required book club for BIPOC-identifying bookworms and celebrating BIPOC authors. The first meeting is at Venus Envy’s Barrington Street location, details and reading list available upon registration.
Portia White: A Vibrant Presence premiere (Feb 9)
A short film celebrating the life and legacy of the Halifax soprano whose voice set the world aflame, Portia White: A Vibrant Presence gets its debut at this screening and panel, held at King’s College’s KTS Lecture Hall at 7pm. The event is free, but registration is needed.
George Elliott Clarke Presents: 5 Poets Breaking Into Song (#8) (Feb 12)
Canada’s seventh Poet Laureate and multi-published author George Elliott Clarke reminds us all of the thin line between poetry and song with this showcase that walks clean across it. Here, poets Afua Cooper, Amatoritsero Ede, Sylvia Hamilton, El Jones and Monica Mutale read their verses and then local composer Nevawn Patrick shows how he’s set their poetry to music, performed by vocalist Linda Carvery with pianist Holly Arsenault. It all goes down at Halifax Central Library’s Paul O’Regan Hall at 2pm.
Lift Every Voice 8: African Heritage Month Musical Showcase (Feb 16 & 23)
The African Nova Scotian Music Association’s landmark AHM celebration, this concert sees a swath of local talent take the stage and shine bright.
Catch the show Feb 16 at Halifax North Memorial Library at 6pm and Feb 23 at 6pm at the Halifax Central Library.
The Taurey Butler Trio (Feb 19)
The world-renowned New Jersey-born, Montreal-based jazz pianist Taurey Butler brings his acclaimed three-piece band to Halifax for a session of hard-driving swing. Get into it at Halifax Central Library’s Paul O’Regan Hall at 1pm.
The 7th Annual Halifax Black Film Festival (Feb 24-28)
Closing February on a high note, this fest features flicks by both local and international Black filmmakers—70 movies from 10 countries in total. It all kicks off with a screening at Cineplex Park Lane of AISHA, a story of a Nigerian newcomer navigating Ireland’s immigration system that stars Black Panther’s Letitia Wright (Feb 24, 7pm). Get more details on the fest’s site.
Girlfriend, Talk About It: The Graduate Work of Toni Morrison & bell hooks (March 9)
Luminary author and journalist Evelyn C. White delivers an icons-on-icons moment as she discusses the landmark works and careers of both Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature, and bell hooks, Black activist and author who has shaped much of modern feminism’s discourse. It kicks off at 7pm at the Halifax Central Library.