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Black History Month 2023
Photograph: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light | Black History Month 2023

7 ways to celebrate Black History Month in Montreal

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light is the theme of Montreal’s 32nd annual Black History Month, featuring concerts, theatre, film and more.

Written by
Richard "Bugs" Burnett

Shining a light on a community of many noteworthy Black figures, theatre, film and musical concerts are among the many highlights during the 32nd annual Black History Month in Montreal. 

This year’s theme is “Out of the Darkness, Into the Light” (De l’obscurité à la lumière) and Montreal artist Taïna Mueth, whose work explores the relationship between the future and present through a Black cultural filter, created this year’s poster:

Black History Month 2023
Photograph: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light | Black History Month 2023

Here are some choice 2023 Black History Month events:

1. La Flambeau

The Orchestre classique de Montréal presents the world premiere of La Flambeau chamber opera by Haitian-Québec composer David Bontemps and Haitian librettist and playwright Faubert Bolivar who draw on West African mythology and Haitian Vodou traditions to explore corruption, misogyny and the abuse of power. Sung by a cast of distinguished Black opera singers at Pierre-Mercure Hall on February 7.

La Flambeau
Photograph: Kevin Calixte | La Flambeau

2. Nuits d’Afrique

Nuits d’Afrique presents Juno Award-winning vocalists Tapa and Montreal’s famed Queen of the Blues Dawn Tyler Watson performing together for the first time in their much-anticipated Blues on Blues concert at La Tulipe on February 8.

3. Cinémathèque Québécoise

The Cinémathèque Québécoise screens 15 iconic Blaxploitation films in its series The Blaxploitation Years, including Coffy, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones, Shaft and Superfly and runs to February 21. 

4. Headdresses From Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection

Collector and Afromusée founder Guy Mushagalusa Chigoho examines the African headdresses on display in the exhibition Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection, in a special lecture on Sunday, February 12 on-site at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. 

5. The Underground Comedy Railroad

The Comedy Nest nightclub hosts The Underground Comedy Railroad, the first-ever all-Black comedy tour in Canada, on February 19. The Montreal show co-stars hilarious stand-up comics Rodney Ramsey, Daniel Woodrow, Kevin Christopher, Tamara Shevon, George Rivard, Alan Shane Lewis and Keesha Brownie. 

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6. FRKY || BLK || Listen “Black Heritage” dance party

Legendary Montreal party promoter Manclaudy hosts the free-admission FRKY || BLK || Listen “Black Heritage” dance party at La Sala Rossa from 7 to 10 pm on February 4, featuring nine renowned non-Black DJs spinning their Black inspirations, followed by a ticketed Chicago house, Detroit techno and disco FRKY BLK After Party (10 pm to 3 am) featuring legendary DJs Nick Holder, Moka, Bugo and Andy Williams. 

7. Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers

Inspired by the real-life murder of Trayvon Martin, the Dora Award-winning play Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers tells the story of a Black teenager and his experience in the afterlife after violence takes his life away. The play explores what it means to be a young Black man in North American society. Co-produced by Montreal’s pioneering Black Theatre Workshop and Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, this critically-acclaimed production runs from February 22 to 26 at The Segal Centre for Performing Arts.

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers
Photograph: Cylla von Tiedemann | Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers

For more information about Montreal Black History Month events, click here.

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