Black History Month in Montreal

Our picks among the music, art, film, comedy, panel and other events celebrating black history and culture.

Stella Adjokê

As people across Canada and the United States turn the calendars over to February, the coming weeks will be dedicated to observing Black History Month, with the annual fest’s myriad opportunities to learn, share, reflect upon and celebrate the accomplishments of black individuals and communities spread across the African Diaspora.

In Montreal, the official BHM series organizers have developed a program of events under the slogan “Black history is made every day!” that includes live performances, art exhibitions, forums and discussions, film screenings and more, spread across the city alongside a number of independent projects. Check out some highlights below, and visit Montreal’s Black History Month website for the full calendar.

Feb. 1–25

Galerie Mile End is the home of the group exhibition Symbols of Resistance, featuring works exploring the intersections of black identity by Kay Nau, Glowz, Sika Valmé, Valérie Bah, Chelsy Monie, Po B. K. Lomam, Carl-Philippe Simonise and AÏssatou Diallo. 5345 Parc, various hours, free

Feb. 3

The second annual Dynastie Awards will be presented at a gala at TOHU, with awards categories for arts and media achievements plus performances by Kim Richardson, Jireh Gospel Choir, Gaya, Spicy Landé and more. 2345 Jarry E., 7 p.m., $34–$64

Feb. 6

SistersinMotion and the Concordia Hip Hop community host a special Rap Battle for Representation at Artgang, with hosts Stella Adjokê and Meryem Saci plus a host of performers from under-represented groups within hip hop including women, trans and non-binary people, with a live backing band called the Electric Ladies. 6524 St-Hubert, 6:30–11:30 p.m., $7–$10 PWYC

Feb. 9

Cinéma du Parc will screen the documentary film Ouvrir la voix by French filmmaker Amandine Gay, exploring the lives of francophone, black European women and the distinct challenges they face. 3575 Parc, various dates and showtimes, $12.50/$11 youth, French with English subtitles


Feb. 9–23

Place des Arts’s Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme shares an exhibition in tribute to Prince: Prince: His Purple Majesty, curated by Montreal musicologist Duke Eatmon. In conjunction with the exhibition, sound engineer Susan Rogers (a Prince collaborator and McGill alum) will give a talk about her experiences with Prince (Feb. 10, 2 p.m.). 175 Ste-Catherine W., free

Feb. 11

Catch a special afternoon performance of Afrique en Cirque with Quebec and Guinea-based circus troupe Kalabanté at Olympia. 1004 Ste-Catherine E., 3 p.m., $37.37–$56.92

Feb. 13

Montreal NGO Diversité artistique Montréal (DAM) hosts a public consultation on systemic discrimination and racism in the cultural and media sector, giving opportunity for stakeholders to share their experiences and ideas for improving representation. 1212 Panet, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., free

Feb. 13–17

Don’t miss the Black Theatre Workshop’s production of Black Boys at Espace Libre, offering a unique take on the inner lives of three young black men, subverting notions of gender, sexuality and race as they discover and assert their true identities. 1945 Fullum, various showtimes $19–$33

Feb. 15–16

Concordia’s student-run VAV Gallery hosts a two-day Black History Month program including a screening of a six-hour, 16mm film of a 1970 trial against Denver Black Panther Party leader Lauren R. Watson (directed by Academy Award-winning director Denis Sanders), plus a panel discussion and dance party with DJ Janette King. 1395 René-Lévesque W., various event times and prices

Feb. 22

Vocalist Nadia Theobal takes on the songbook of powerful and political jazz singer Nina Simone with a tribute concert at le Balcon. 463 Ste-Catherine W., 8 p.m., $25 or $60 includes dinner

Feb. 24

Paris-based illustrator Nicholle Kobi stops in Montreal on her Black Woman Art Series Tour at an as-yet undisclosed downtown location, where the artist will be chatting with guests, participating in a Q&A and offering a pop-up boutique with prints, T’s, sweatshirts, totes, greeting cards and more items decorated with Kobi’s signature style. Secret location, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., $26–$42

Feb. 25

Entertainment group FollowdaRiddim hosts the bilingual comedy night Eat & Laugh 2 at la Sala Rossa with appearances from comedians Charmaine, Chris Venditto, Dolino El Africano and Daniel Pinet plus Caribbean dance troupe West Can, plenty of Caribbean cuisine and DJ Star Q. 4848 St-Laurent, 6–9 p.m., $40/$25 in advance

Feb. 28

Keeping up the Prince love will be eight-piece funk band the Brooks with a Prince Tribute Concert at Club Soda that will also welcome special guests Jean-Sébastien Chouinard, Fredy V, Malika Tirolien and Ralph Télémaque. 1225 St-Laurent, 7:30 p.m. $17.25–$27.25