Events to Honor and Celebrate Black History Month

Second line at The LB Bayou Fest 2015 (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Black History is World History.

Black History Parade and Festival in Altadena & Pasadena

February 16, 2019   10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  FREE

The 37th annual Black History Parade and Festival will begin at 10 a.m. at Charles White Park on Fair Oaks Avenue and Figueroa Street in Altadena, then move south on Fair Oaks Avenue to Robinson Park in Pasadena where a festival with music, food vendors, a college fair and kids’ activities will take place until 4 p.m. This year’s theme is “For the Culture – Celebrating Our Excellence.” The 2019 Celebrity Grand Marshal is Kaj Goldberg, KTLA weatherman and Pasadena resident. He will be joined for California’s biggest black history parade by 80 participating groups, including Miss Black Pasadena, cheerleaders from the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Lakers, Buffalo Soldiers, marching bands, dancers, equestrians, and vintage and custom cars. Please arrive early to take advantage of the free parking at Calvary Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 135 Glorieta St., Pasadena, and to get a good viewing spot for the parade. Drive cautiously, as a number of streets will be closed due to the parade. Check the website for more info.

The Annual Black History Parade & Cultural Fair in Anaheim

Saturday, February 23 & Sunday, February 24, 2019  10 a.m – 4 p.m.   FREE

The Orange County Heritage Council is a community-based volunteer organization promoting positive family and cultural interaction. Their biggest annual events are the Black History Parade and Cultural Faire. They are normally held on the 1st Saturday in February, but have been postponed until February 23, 2019. After the parade, there is a Black Cultural Faire offering black history, informational booths and food sold by community groups. Downtown Anaheim 205 West Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, California 92805.

African-American Festival in Long Beach

Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, 2019,  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  $17.99 child & 29.95 adult ticket.

Long Beach’s 17th annual African-American Festival will feature a Mardi Gras second line, DJs, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, West African dancers and storytellers, and Interactive Poetry, Music, and Yoga.  There will also be cultural displays, handmade crafts, and ethnic food at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The event is included with your aquarium visit.

Pan-African Film and Arts Festival

Through February 18, 2019   Various hours and prices

PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover, Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’net DuBois, and Executive Director Ayuko Babu. The Pan African Film & Arts Festival is screening “a variety of black creative work that reinforces positive images and helps destroy negative stereotypes” at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. They are also holding  workshops, panel discussions, and spoken word (which takes place tonight). The awards brunch will take place Monday, February 18, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. The Artfest will be taking place Mondays – Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. There will be a closing night Gala event with a red carpet screening, Q&A and after party immediately following. Check out the website for details.

Black History Month programs at the California African American Museum

Located in Exposition Park in Downtown L.A., the California African American Museum (CAAM) has a permanent collection housing 4,000 works of art, historical objects and print materials. They are active in the community offering special events, readings and observances of special holidays.

For Black History Month they are presenting a series of events, including “What the world needs is…” poster making, CAAM Reads! The monthly book club’s February selection is “The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers,” written by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt, “In Conversation: Paul Mpagi Sepuya and Eve Xelestiál Moreno-Luz” These artists will discuss the concept of “chosen family,” especially in regards to LGBTQIA communities, ‘Leveraging Influence: Black Celebrity & Activism,’ with KRS-One on Film, Art, and Music with Gary Simmons,”

Today, February, 12, 2018   7 p.m. – 9 p.m.   FREE   Activating Artists: Know Your Rights

Presented in conjunction with Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963, this workshop will help participants “understand best practices when confronted by police, potential consequences of civil disobedience actions, and other legal issues surrounding acts of creative public activism.” This workshop is led by Nana Gyamfi of Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives and Colleen Flynn of the National Lawyers Guild.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019   7 p.m. – 9 p.m.   FREE   Black Composers Songversation

Songversation is presented in partnership with the LA Phil and the William Grant Still Arts Center. Enjoy live music and learn about the music and contributions of black composers, as well as a conversation between pianist Aaron Diehl and Ami Motevalli, director of the William Grant Still Arts Center.”

Saturday, February 16, 2019   1 p.m. – 3 p.m.  FREE    Star System Jewelry Workshop

“Inspired by the magical Afro-futuristic themes exhibited in Robert Pruitt – Devotion, attendees will make their own astronomy-based beaded necklace or bracelet and learn more about our place in the universe. Ages 5 and up. Space is limited, RSVP required.”

LA Public Library’s African American Heritage Month

The LA Public Library will be hosting events for African American Heritage Month at branches around the city, including movie screenings, family storytime, arts & crafts, and panel discussions. Upcoming events include a screening of “Black Panther” at Central Library (Feb. 12), Body Percussion (College Stepping) at Granada Hills (Feb. 16)
Jacob Lawrence & the Migration Series at Watts Branch (Feb. 19) Black History Goes West! at Mark Twain Branch (Feb. 21), Jacques Lesure Jazz Trio at Angeles Mesa (Feb. 23), Black Magic with Magician Greg G at Mar Vista (Feb. 26) and African American “Book Tasting” at Central Library (Feb. 27). For a complete schedule, visit the LAPL calendar.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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