Black History Month Montreal 2024

How Montreal is marking Black History Month 2024

The city’s 33rd annual celebration of Black cultures is on.

We spoke with Fimo Mitchell, 2024 Black History Month Montreal spokesperson alongside Tailaire Laguerre (aka Tai TL), about this year’s programming.

It may be called Black History Month, but there’s so much more to it than the name suggests.

“It’s not just history. Black History Month is a celebration of Black culture,” says Fimo Mitchell, the English-language spokesperson for Quebec’s Black History Month 2024 edition.

“It gives us time to examine where we are, honestly, as individuals, as a community, and what needs to be changed,” says the meditation teacher, writer and podcast host.

This 33rd edition of BHM Montreal, organized by the Round Table on Black History Month, features dozens of events across Montreal and beyond, events that highlight the diversity of Black history and Black cultures.

“People will speak about the Black community as a monolith, but it’s very inaccurate,” says Mitchell. “Culturally, we have a lot of differences. I don’t think that has to be a problem. I think that’s rich. The question is, can we fit and share our different cultures, our differences, celebrate that and figure out how we can harness and bring all that together to move us forward as a collective?”

It would seem this year’s Black History Month schedule responds with a resounding “Yes!” There is something for everyone to get excited about. 

The festivities kick off with a gala opening event on Feb. 1 celebrating this year’s 12 laureates chosen by the Round Table for excellence in their respective fields. This year’s laureates were photographed by Kevin Calixte to appear in the yearly calendar produced and distributed for Black History Month. 

It’s Mitchell’s turn to be in the calendar this year as one of the 12 laureates being honoured. Two years ago, it was his sister who was featured in it. 

“I’ve always had the calendar for as long as it’s been around. It’s funny to finally be in it. It’s pretty cool,” he says with a laugh. 

Following the opening ceremony, the programming kicks into high gear. The next thing on Mitchell’s list of must-sees is the viewing of the film SIRA by Apolline Traoré, on Feb. 2 at Cinéma Beaubien, Feb. 3 at the Cinémathèque Québécoise and Feb. 4 at Cinéma Public.

The movie follows the young Fulani girl Sira as she seeks revenge for her rape and the killing of her fellow tribe members. The film won the Audience Award at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival and will represent Burkina Faso at the 2024 Oscars.

Another noteworthy event is the yearly blood drive seeking blood donors in support of people suffering from sickle cell anemia, a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that is most commonly seen in Black communities. This year’s blood drive will be held on Feb. 10, at CÉDA (2515 Delisle).

“The most important (event) is the blood drive, just because we need more Black donors,” says Mitchell. Still, he acknowledges it’s hard to get excited about the ordeal of donating blood — “I can’t say that’s the thing I’m looking forward to.”

More than a reflection on what was and what is, Mitchell hopes Black History Month can be used as an opportunity to “live and create a reality where we don’t need an enemy. We’re self-sufficient. We’re healing. We’re thriving.”

More Black History Month Montreal program highlights

Diggers – Black Theatre Workshop

A co-production between Black Theatre Workshop and Prairie Theatre Exchange, Diggers is the story of three gravediggers doing their best in a difficult period of illness, increased workload and less community support through struggle. 

Segal Centre for Performing Arts (5170 Côte-Ste-Catherine), Feb. 1–17


In this free event from African and Black diaspora music is on full display, with numerous promoters, DJs, and influencers invited to take part in this musical celebration, showcasing the sounds that marked them.

La Sotterenea (4848 St-Laurent, basement), Feb. 3, 8–10:30 p.m.

Screening and Discussion – Afrodiaspora Global

Afrodiaspora Global is an English-language documentary tracing filmmaker and anthropologist Sheila S Walker’s research into African diaspora communities around the world. After the screening will be a discussion with Walker as well as Khadiatou Sarr, a doctoral student at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) specializing in international law. 

J. Armand Bombardier Theatre at the McCord Stewart Museum (690 Sherbrooke W.), Feb. 14

The Afro-descendant History of Saint-Henri

Historian Dorothy Williams will present a lecture on the history of Saint-Henri’s Black community, highlighting cultural institutions that were important to the community settled in the area that has since become known as Little Burgundy, and the notable people who lived here.

Pointe-à-Callière (350 Place Royale), Feb. 22

See the complete BHM Montreal program here.

This article was originally published in the Feb. 2024 issue of Cult MTL.

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