Celebrate Black History Month

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Arsht Center

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By: Ashlee Thomas

February: THE month where quantum levels of Black cultural celebration is expected and greatly appreciated; where doing it for the culture shows up in glorious acumens and accomplishments created with #blackgirmagic and #blackboyjoy. The complexity of the Black American experience makes for a rich story to be told. Black history is American history and proudly highlighted in Miami throughout February’s Black History Month with these Black, Bold and Beautiful cultural events to attend.

STAGE & SILVER SCREEN

Meet Me at the Oak | Stage play presented by M Ensemble
February 7 – 24 Tickets: $16 - $31
Sandrell Rivers Theater: 6103 NW 7th Avenue, Miami 33142 - Liberty City

This newly-renovated theater in Liberty City is lush and home of M Ensemble, one of the oldest African American theater companies in South Florida. Their Black history month feature Meet Me at the Oak is a riveting depiction of the racial conflict in Louisiana circa 1955. Its story begins with a young, white woman falling from a tree located in a Black family’s yard. The authorities require the tree to be cut down, but the family refuses as the audience witnesses how their ancestors’ lives are interconnected to the roots. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

Stage: Lyric Live All Stars, “the Apollo of Miami” Hosted by: Chello
February 1 | Tickets: $15-$35
Historic Lyric Theater: 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami - Overtown

The Lyric Theater is history preserved. This 400-seat theater was the go-to theater house of major black celebrities during the segregated era in American history. Come enjoy Lyric Live happening the first Friday of every month. This is a special one as all the winners from the past five seasons come to compete for the Allstar title. Click here to purchase tickets.

Movies on the Lawn: Feature Films: The Wiz & Black Panther
Free Saturday, Feburary 2 | Time: 5:45p.m. & 8p.m.
Historic Lyric Theater: 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami - Overtown

Bring lawn chairs, blankets and friends and come ease on down the road to a childhood favorite: The Wiz. Directly following this screening is the box office hit Black Panther. Enjoy Wakanda, galactic battles, massive rhinos, and Afrofuturistic technology. Food vendors will be present, Bring cash/cards to support the vendors! No RSVP required.

ART & CULTURE AFICIONADOS

Miami is known for visual art. The Art of Black Miami brings the niched heritage artistic experience to the world. Here are three exhibits in heritage neighborhoods to check out.

As a Matter of Black: A Seat at the Table exhibition Curated by Bart Mervil, MUCE 305
Free – no RSVP required | February 8th , 6pm – 8pm & February 9th , 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

NoMi Public Library: 835 Northeast 132 Street, Miami - North Miami

As a matter of Black is an annual exhibition curated by Bart Mervil of the Miami Urban Contemporary Experience which confronts the ideas about blackness as color, ethnicity, currency, even universal matter. This particular exhibition opens February 8th and explores the significance of having a seat at the table. On February 9th, come back to the library for a free family day and celebration with book signings, vendors, face painting, kid zone, food, and performances. Learn more about the happenings here.

Redline Letters to Report Curated by Terrance Cribbs-Lorrant
February 1 - March 1 | Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Tickets: $15
Black Police Precinct: 480 NW 11th Street, Miami - Downtown

Redline Letters to Report showcases historical letters from Chief Frank Mitchell’s statements to surrounding precinct’s hiring of Black Patrol Men. The exhibition also honors Miami’s first black police chief, Clarence Dickson. Prior to 1960, blacks were not allowed to attend police academy or receive formal training - this changed with Chief Dickson and he rose all the way to the top. For more information about the police precinct and to make reservations, click here.

The Black Cultural Expo 
February 2 | Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Free to attend
Historic Lyric Theater: 819 NW 2nd Ave, Miami - Overtown

Join cultural vendors and organizations on this day for tours, vendors and fun activities for the entire family to celebrate Black History Month.

The 6th Annual Black History Month Heritage & Neighborhood Tour 
Saturday, February 9th | Time: 9a.m. – 3p.m. | Free to attend
Historic Lyric Theater: 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami - Overtown

Created with the cultural explorer in mind, the 6th Annual Black History Honth heritage tour takes visitors on an immersive exploration of melanin-enriched neighborhoods and the history of Black Miami. A local historian tells the the tales and deconstructs myths about legendary people and places in Overtown, Miami Gardens, Liberty City and more. Enjoy a day of sight-seeing that also includes the Art of Black Miami exhibitions AfriCobra and Elizabeth Catlett & the Hampton Arts Traditions. Learn more and register here.

Music & Dance

These two forms go hand in hand and one can say Black Culture is bubbling over with music and dance. From Negro spirituals to Lindy Hop – here are some must-sees for the music and dance lover.

Jazz Roots Series: Jazz in the Key of Ellison 
Friday, February 8 at 8 p.m. | Tickets: $45 - $125
Adrienne Arsht Center, Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami - Downtown

Jazz in the Key of Ellison will feature acclaimed R&B and jazz vocalist Will Downing, Labelle star Nona Hendryx, Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter/composer Nicholas Payton, the 2017 Sarah Vaughan jazz vocal competition winner Quiana Lynell, and the Andy Farber Jazz Orchestra. Such a sweet treat for jazz lovers. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

The 22nd Annual Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival 
Friday – Sunday, February 22nd – 24th | Tickets: $20 - $200
Historic Lyric Theater : 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami - Overtown

Jazz, a musical form with its birthright rooted in African American culture From concerts to classes, join the musical mavericks of the Jazz world at the 22nd Annual Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival. The late Melton Mustafa Sr. was an iconic musician and exceptional educator committed to preserving and celebrating the unique orchestration of this American artform. Enjoy the sounds of Virtuoso Bassist Curtis Lundy, Vocalist Brianna Thomas, and Saxophonist Godwin Louis. The festival also features high-profile poets and Tap Dance performances by the Broadway-star, Marshall Davis Jr. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Ailey 60 
Thursday, February 14 – Sunday February 17 | Tickets: $29 - $119
Adrienne Arsht Center, Ziff Ballet Opera House: 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami - Downtown

Enjoy the rich movement of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the first African American Contemporary dance company to reach global acclaim. Patrons can enjoy Ailey Classics and new works by current Artistic Director Robert Battle (who happens to be a Miami Native!) Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Free Gospel Sundays: Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole 
Sunday, February 17 | FREE with RSVP
Adrienne Arsht Center, Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd Miami - Downtown

The Arsht Center delivers a dynamic Sunday evening of heavenly music from the best of the best. February’s Black History Month features Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole, member of the legendary vocal ensemble, The Clark Sisters. This event is free, and the tickets go extremely fast. Learn more here.

Vogue Extravaganza, Choreographed by: Randolph Ward 
Friday, March 1 | Time: 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Tickets: $20
Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Theater: 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami - Little Haiti

Since the month is short, let’s add a day as this U.S. premier is not to be missed. The Black gay experience is explored in A Vogue Extravaganza. International dancer and choreographer comes back to his hometown to bring the raw untamed energy of the New York Ballroom scene to life. First staged in Germany, this work creates a night of freedom, courage and creativity with nine men, three women, spiked heels and two emerging drag icons. What is it to escape societal expectations and create one’s self as one sees it? Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Lectures

Fact: Black History Month was originally a history week founded by Carter G. Woodson, a former slave and the second African American to graduate from Harvard. Here’s an event for the intellectuals.

Brown Bag Lunch Series 
February 6, 13, 20 and 27 | Time Varies | FREE with RSVP
Historic Lyric Theater: 819 NW 2nd Ave, Miami - Overtown

This four-part series features talks with distinguished guests on specific topics as they relate African Americans on medicine and health, historical educational figures, sororities and fraternities and Black entertainment. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Check out additional 2019 Black History Month Events from the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board.

Explore Miami's History and Heritage

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