As daunting as it may seem that time is flying by so fast and the ink is barely dry on our New Year’s resolutions, it doesn’t mean that we have to let life pass us by. This month, there are a host of inspiring, educational and beautiful events, many in honor of, or conjunction with, Black History Month, going on all over the country. And this month you have an extra Leap Day to get out there and enjoy!
Black College Expo (various locations)
Representing dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Black College Expo is designed to connect students with college representatives and provide information about scholarships, financial aid, campus life and so on. Held in different cities through spring, activities range from Career Recruitment booths to seminars, competitions, step shows and more.
Feb. 6 Los Angeles
Feb. 13 Oakland
Feb. 27 Houston
March 5 D.C./Maryland
UniverSoul Circus (various locations)
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.
Feb. 3-15 Miramar, Fla.
Feb. 3-28 Atlanta
Feb. 17-21 Tampa, Fla.
Feb. 24-28 New Orleans, La.
March 2-13 Raleigh, N.C.
March 5-20 Oakland, Calif.
March 16-27 Richmond, Va.
March 23-April 7 Los Angeles
March 30-April 10 Bronx, N.Y.
April 12-24 Brooklyn, N.Y.
April 27-May 15 Queens, N.Y.
Through Feb. 25
“Cultural Heroes” (Memphis, Tenn.)
Created by artist Alan LeQuire and presented at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, “Cultural Heroes” is a truly larger-than-life exhibition of oversized busts made of clay of seven jazz, blues and folk artists—Marian Anderson, Huddy “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Bessie Smith, Woody Guthrie, Billie Holiday, Josh White and Paul Robeson—who each, in their respective careers, took great risk to speak out through their music against the horrors of racism and inequality in this country. According to the sculptor LeQuire, these artists were “the grandparents of the Civil Rights Movement” and deserve their rightful place in the annals of civil rights history.
Through Feb. 28
20th 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.
Harlem Fine Arts Show (Harlem, N.Y.)
Held at Harlem’s historic Riverfront Church, the annual Harlem Fine Arts Show attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year. This multi-day event allows attendees—ranging from art enthusiasts, to educators, art collectors students and other from throughout the New York metropolitan region—the unique opportunity to not only enjoy a wide array of art from 100-plus artists and galleries reflecting the African Diaspora, including photography, contemporary paintings and sculpture, but also to enjoy a variety of activities including a Youth Empowerment Day, Authors Pavilion, special lecture series, gospel choir performances and more.
24th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (Los Angeles, CA)
The Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival, 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.
Houston African Film Festival (Houston, Texas)
Featuring a wide array of feature films, shorts, documentaries and animations from numerous African countries, crafted by some of the continent’s best and brightest “seasoned and emerging first-voice filmmakers,” the annual Houston African Film Festival will be held at Houston Museum of African American Culture.
53rd 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 53rd anniversary this year. Each year, the festival—ranked “Top 5 in America’s Best Art Fairs”—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.
90th annual Black History Luncheon (Washington, D.C.)
Held at the Washington Renaissance Hotel, the 90th annual Black History Luncheon, presented by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, will feature a free “Featured Authors Event,” where over 30 talented authors will offer attendees a meet-and-greet and an opportunity to purchase and have their books signed. The special guest speaker for the luncheon is professor Kaye Wise Whitehead, associate professor of African and African-American studies at Loyola University.
Lysa Allman Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, offering “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (www.amazingescapades.com). She can be reached at email@example.com.