• By: OLM Staff

A Guide to Black History Month Activities

February is Black History Month, a time when we are all encouraged to learn about, acknowledge and celebrate the significant contributions that Black Canadians and Black communities all over the world have made to society.

Various events are being hosted across the city over the next few weeks in celebration of Black History Month. Here are just a few:

Crépu Our DNA

Sunday, February 4, 2024 — Canadian Science and Technology Museum

Crépu is a French term for tight curly hair, widely associated with Black hair. This event is a partnership between the Moving Art Gallery and Ingenium Canada, which runs the Ottawa Science and Technology Museum. This event examines the artistry around Black hair and the science behind it. Although the event is sold out online, there are still door tickets.

Click here for more information.

Afro-Caribbean History Month

Saturday, February 24, 2024 — St. Anthony Banquet Hall

This event will dive deep into Afro-Caribbean culture with a fashion show, keynote speakers, an art exhibit, and cultural food. The event runs from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; traditional Afro-Carribean clothing is encouraged. Get tickets here.

83 Til Infinity

Until Sunday, February 18, 2024 — Ottawa Art Gallery

Celebrating 40 years of Ottawa hip-hop culture, 83 Til Infinity is based on materials that show themes of Hip Hop, including activism, culture, justice, and community. Curated by Kevin Bourne of Shifter magazine, the exhibit will close on February 18, so go check out the free exhibit on the gallery’s top floor!

Click here for more information.

Freedom Live and Unplugged

Friday, February 2, 2024  – the Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St.

What started as an audio mix tape became a multidisciplinary, immersive, and thought-provoking theatre experience. Freedom’s ensemble explores joy, ancestral healing, and generational trauma in a community conversation. The performance delves into themes of police brutality, the complexities of Black identity, and the universal right to freedom.

While centred on Black identities, Freedom Live and Unplugged‘s authenticity and emotional depth allow it to resonate across diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, addressing art as resistance and systemic issues.

Get tickets here.

Juice II: An Evening of Afro Music

Thursday, February 15, 2024 — Meridian Theatre at Centrepointe

Three Black performersOK Naledi, Taapz, Jessie Simmons — and DJ Del Pilar are taking to the stage at Centrepointe for an evening of Afro Music.

OK Nalei is This Afro House Queer performing music group that features traditional sub-Saharan clean guitar lines, classic deep bass, deep groove acoustic drums and beats that drive that iconic Afro House tempo. Taapz is a Malawian-born artist who blends her culture and unique experiences to tell authentic stories through her music, while Jessie Simmons, with her unique Afro-Caribbean style — a fusion between R&B — is one of the most sought-after Haitian artists in Canada.

Get tickets here

Screening Of Jenny Alpha Documentary

Friday, February 16, 2024 — Alliance Française

Alliance Française is celebrating the story of Jenny Alpha, a leading artistic figure of the 20th century who fought for the recognition of Creole culture and played an active role in the Négritude movement alongside others such as Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sedar Senghor. The film will be followed by a discussion with the director, Olivier Codol.

Get tickets here

Hip Hop Theatre Festival

Until February 10, 2024 — National Arts Centre

Curated by Rose-Ingrid Benjamin with Nina Lee Aquino and NAC Popular Music and Variety, the eleven-day festival revolves around the text-based essence of hip hop. Performances will include battle rap, spoken word, staged readings, panels, concerts, and virtual events, all aimed at broadening our perspective on how we view and experience theatre at its core.

See the full festival schedule at nac-cna.ca


National Film Board Screenings

Ongoing — online 

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is paying tribute to the late filmmaker Charles Officer, who passed away on December 1, 2023. The NFB will feature the original version of Officer’s 2010 film Mighty Jerome, which tells the story of Harry Jerome, Canada’s renowned track and field star. The documentary can be watched free of charge at nfb.ca.

Additionally, the NFB website is featuring two playlists for Black History Month: Focus on Black Filmmakers, comprising 29 films by Black directors and a new playlist called NFB Abroad: Africa On Screen, featuring 26 films made across Africa.

Click here to learn more about NFB screenings and activities during Black History Month.