Yikes! February already?! It seems as if another year is flying by. Nevertheless, we do have the option of slowing down and taking stock of what we want to see, do and experience this year. Here are a few ongoing and current events to get you on your way. Enjoy!
Through Feb. 24
- “Knock Me a Kiss” (Houston, Texas): “Knock Me a Kiss” is a fictional account inspired by the actual events surrounding the marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois’ daughter Yolande to one of Harlem’s great poets, Countee Cullen, in 1928. The marriage marked the height of the Harlem Renaissance and was viewed as the perfect union of Negro talent and beauty, uniting the daughter of America’s foremost Black intellectual, co-founder of the NAACP and publisher of Crisis magazine, with a poet whose work was considered to be one of the flagships for the New Negro movement. 713-250-0055, ensemblehouston.com
Through April 20
- Black College Expo (various locations): Representing close to 50 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black College Expo is designed to provide “high school and college students with a unique educational and entertaining experience, during which many students from high school and transferring college students are admitted to colleges on the spot.” Collegiate booths, a Career Recruitment Pavilion, Think Green Pavilion, seminars, a Career, Internship & Vocational Expo, step show and scholarship presentations are among the many expo events. (Feb. 2: Los Angeles, Feb. 16: Atlanta, March 9: Oakland/San Francisco, March 30:Washington, D.C., April 20: Ontario, Canada) thecollegeexpo.org
Through April 28
- UniverSoul Circus (various locations): As arguably the most soulful circus on the planet, the UniverSoul Circus presents an entertaining, family-friendly show produced, directed and managed primarily by people of color. Its entertainers are world-class acts from around the globe, including clowns, aerialists, Caribbean and hip-hop dancers, magicians, contortionists, wild animal tamers, daredevils and more. universoulcircus.com (Jan. 29-Feb. 3: Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 5-10: Miami, Fla., Feb. 14-7: Tampa, Fla., Feb. 14-March 3: Atlanta, Ga., March 5-10: Raleigh, N.C., March 12-17: Richmond, Va., March 20-31: Bronx, N.Y., April 2-14: Queens, N.Y., April 17-28: Brooklyn, N.Y.)
- 17th annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration (Hilton Head, S.C.): Showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island, the annual Gullah Celebration has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast. The fun includes a wide array of events designed to attract, entertain and educate local residents, regional, national and international travelers with storytellers, African dance and gospel music, an arts, crafts and food expo, a 5K run, youth event, live entertainment and more. 843-255-7304, gullahcelebration.com
- Harlem Fine Arts Show (Harlem): Expanding from a three- to a four-day exposition in 2013, the annual Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS) attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year and is highlighted by an art exposition and charity gala with expressive works of art from over 80 artists and galleries. According to the hosting organization, “HFAS 2013 will exhibit fine art by emerging, mid-career and established artists whose presence in national and global art markets celebrate their contributions to the art canon within a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. The novice as well as the seasoned collector will appreciate this rare opportunity to acquire works created by participating artists.” 914-980-4427, hfas.org
- 21st annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (Los Angeles): America’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival presents over 150 films from the U.S., Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Canada and Europe–all reinforcing positive images and showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent. Festival activities encompass an opening night gala, spoken word fest, student fest, artist fest, children’s festival, a variety of performance artists and musical performers and numerous panels and workshops, just to name a few. 310-337-4737, paff.org
- 21st annual San Diego Brazil Carnaval (San Diego, Calif.): Billed as one of the largest, most authentic carnaval events in California, the annual San Diego Brazil Carnaval is designed to bring people together and build a cultural bridge between Brazil and the United States. Festive activities include a Rio de Janeiro Samba Show, Brazilian music, capoeira performances, an African dance and percussion troupe, a Batucada-style parade, VIP Rio Lounge and the crowning event, the Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball. brazilcarnival.com
- 50th annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Coconut Grove, Fla.): One of the nation’s premier outdoor fine arts festivals, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Each year, the festival attracts more than 150,000 people to this three-day event held in the streets of the heart of Coconut Grove, just south of downtown Miami. A wealth of fantastic culinary, visual and performance art is just the beginning of the fun. 305-447-0401, cgaf.com
- Mardi Gras San Francisco Style (San Francisco): Celebrate Mardi Gras in a fashion only found in the Bay Area at the sixth annual Mardi Gras San Francisco Style. The festivities encompass a masquerade ball, diverse music performances, a kiddie carnival, kick-off concert and after-party, New Orleans-style processional, open mic sessions, food booths and a great deal more. 415-424-2980, mardigrassanfrancisco.com
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.