originally published Feb. 1
Black History Month kicks off today. And with a blatant racist (who apparently has no idea who Fredrick Douglass is) in the oval office, celebrating diversity is more important than ever. Honor black culture and heritage at events this month all over the city, from South Brooklyn to the Bronx.
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL)
This month at JCAL, seeThe Genius of Geoffrey Holder, an art exhibition honoring the Tony Award-winning director and costume designer of "The Wiz," on view through March 30. A one-time performance of "The Wiz," with the cast of the New York Black Art Festival, takes place on Sat., Feb. 11. There’s also a stage reading of "Trapped" by Caribbean playwright Amba Chevannes on Sat. Feb. 4, and a performance by the United African Dance Troupe on Sat., Feb. 25.161-04 Jamaica Ave, jcal.org, prices vary
Brooklyn Historical Society
In addition to their long-running exhibition “Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom,” the museum will host select events throughout February in celebration of Black History Month. On Feb. 7, art historian Kellie Jones and blogger Kimberly Drew discuss art of the African Diaspora, while Dr. Elizabeth Nunez helms a panel discussion on fiction by black writers on the 21st. On the 23rd, piano-cello-violin group Warp Trio, percussionist Rick Martinez, and spoken word artists perform the works of notableAfrican American composers and lyricists, from Maya Angelou to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. 128 Pierrepont St, brooklynhistory.org. Prices vary.
Black in 19th-Century Brooklyn at Green-Wood Cemetery
Take atrolley ridethrough the historic graveyard, making stops at the gravesites of influential African-American New Yorkers, from pop-artist Jean Michel Basquiat to Susan Smith McKinney Stewart, the first black female doctor of New York. The tour will continue on toWeeksville Heritage Centerin Crown Heights, where attendees can view the exhibition Weeksville,Transforming Community/In Pursuit of Freedom, and visit the restoredHunterfly Road Houses, which were once part of the 19th century African-American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn (one of the first free black communities in the country). Box lunch provided.Saturday, Feb. 25, 11 am- 3pm, 500 25th St.,Green-wood.com,$35 members, $40 nonmembers.
The Apollo Theater
The historic Harlem venue is packed with events this month honoring black culture and heritage. Programming begins with a freeopen houseon Saturday, Feb. 4, where visitors can take in an afternoon of theater, music and spoken word. On Sat. the 15th, award-winning storyteller April Armstrong and her Trio take the stage forSchool Day Live: Stories of Songs and Freedom.AFROPUNK Unapologetically Black: The African American Songbook Remixed,an evening of black protest music featuring artists Bilal and Toshi Reagon, closes out the month on Sat. Feb. 25.253 W. 125 St.,apollotheater.org,prices vary.
Correction: This exhibition has been canceled.
“Bronx Black and Beautiful” at the Blox
Beginning Friday, Feb. 3, this Bronx art studio will spotlight works by black artists based in NYC’s northern-most borough. Theexhibitionfeatures original pieces by Ray Noldo, Cynthia Santos,Jerome Lamaarand Omar Noble, as well as African Art from the collection of John Goodman. On view Fridays 5-9 p.m., and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. through February.2413 3rd Ave, theblox.tv, free