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Black History Month
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The best Black History Month events in NYC

Get inspired by Black culture during these epic and educational Black History Month events!

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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It's finally time to celebrate the massive contributions of Black and African-American people with the most amazing exhibits, concerts, shows and more this February. Marking Black History Month is one of the best (and easiest) things to do in February and NYC is certainly not lacking in the many ways you can do this.

Here's where to celebrate the month-long event.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in winter

Best Black History Month events in NYC

  • Dance
  • Boerum Hill

REMEMBERING, an annual program that celebrates Black History, returns to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, the historic “I Have a Dream” speech and remember the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Through dance, theater and video projection, presented by Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, you’ll experience Black History as told by African voices. It’ll be set to music by John Williams, Philip Hamilton and BeBe Winans.

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music is hosting two special programs for Black History month. On Friday, February 17 (4-4:45pm), there will be a multi-media sing-along that will highlight how deeply Black artists have taken popular stories, songs, and even classroom concepts and creatively reimagined them. The day will also celebrate various musical genres of the Black American tradition, from jazz to R&B to hip hop. 

On February 25th (4-5pm), BKCM instructor and renowned musician Tahira Clayton will lead a workshop and performance on Music and the Civil Rights movement. Both events are for children and their parents and are pay-as-you-wish.

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  • Art

Past NYC Parks employees explore their Black heritage in artworks that span media in this show at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery.

See works from Tuwanda Harmon, Preston R. Coston. Jr., Buddy Esquire (from the collection of Curtis Sherrod), Claudette Ramos, and Patrick Forman—curated by NYC Parks’ Ebony Society, an employee-based affinity group. 

The exhibition also includes selections from a collection of vintage hip-hop flyers and vintage invitations produced by the Ebony Society.

The opening reception will take place on Thursday, February 2 from 6 to 8pm. Participating artists will be present and light refreshments will be served. RSVP here.

The free exhibition will be open through March 9, 2023.

Broadway stars Natasha Yvette Williams (Some Like It Hot), Q. Smith (Come From Away) and Will Man (Hadestown National Touring Company) will take part in “Making Space on the Great White Way: An Homage to Black Trailblazers of Theater & Performance” on Sunday, February 19, at 12:15pm at Marble Collegiate Church. They will pay tribute to the Black actors, composers and playwrights who have made countless contributions to Broadway’s signature style and aesthetic, yet for many years, were not given the opportunity to perform on America’s premiere stage. It’s free and will also be streamed online.

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  • Comedy
  • Gowanus

At this hilarious and educational show, comedians Brandon Collins and Gordon Baker-Bone lead a booze-fueled lesson in Black history with the help of their friends. This Black History Month edition features guest appearances from Calise Hawkins (Everything’s Trash), J.D. Williams (The Wire), and Electra Teleseford (Women in Comedy Festival) with music provided by DJ Shakir Standley and others who will be “skunked out of their minds” wild trying to recap historical events. 

  • Comedy
  • Lower East Side

Don’t miss the “biggest, Blackest sitcom, sketch, satirical comedy show ever” from Jeffrey Elizabeth Copeland, who will be joined by some of NYC’s hottest comics to celebrate Black and African-American culture and history.

All night, comedians such as Aaron LaRoche, Alexis Braxton, Jeffrey Kitt, Kaili Y. Turner, Kalynn Chambers and others will perform sketches that’ll satirize the world from the African-American perspective, from dating to politics and more.

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  • Music
  • East Williamsburg

Brooklyn’s DIY scene is featuring Black artists all month long (in addition to its regular programming featuring BIPOC artists) in honor of Black History Month. Hear dance tunes from Bronx-born Swami Sound, bold rap beats by cupcakKe, nostalgic sounds by Swan Lingo and African American Sound Recordings and more. 

  • Comedy
  • Lower East Side

This comedy show is TED Talk meets game show—learn about the “history we lack and its propensity to be black” from Sam Kebede, who will weave together humor, culture, and education into an evening “filled with trivia, cash prizes, and some cold, hard facts.” Proceeds from the show will all go to one of several organizations and initiatives that promote social and racial justice.

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  • Kids

Brooklyn Children’s Museum is hosting a week of reflection and future-forward fun for Black History Month, including interactive dance, historical explorations, art projects, music, and more.

Don’t miss dance performances featuring Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective that draw on the histories and narratives of the black diaspora; take part in workshops exploring the quilt codes used to navigate the Underground Railroad led by writer and poet Prolific; contribute to a futuristic collage project inspired by artist Lauren Halsey; learn about herbal remedies and their cultural roots; and participate in a percussion workshop led by the Brooklyn United drum line.

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Comedy for the Soul: A Black Herstory Month Celebration
Photograph: Paula J. Leon

11. Comedy for the Soul: A Black Herstory Month Celebration

Leave it to women to bring one of the funniest events to Black History Month! Women Stand Up NYC and Black Women In Comedy LAFF Festival are celebrating with a stacked line up of New York’s best Black women in comedy. Joanna M. Briley will host the show that’ll feature Ayanna Dookie, Heidi Grandberry, Mezzy D, Whitney Allen, April Boddie, Lauren Davis and headliner Monique Latise, the first black woman to open a Black-owned comedy club in New Jersey. It’ll take place at The Stand on February 23. Tickets are $15.

  • Art
  • Central Park

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is literally making room for the real, lived history of Seneca Village, the once-thriving community founded by free Black New Yorkers that existed just a few hundred yards west of The Met between the 1820s and 1850s. The space, conceived and designed by Lead Curator and Designer Hannah Beachler (known for her work on Black Panther and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” video) and Senior Exhibition Designer Fabiana Weinberg, includes a wood-framed 19th-century home that contains works from The Met’s American Wing that are reminiscent of pot shards and remnants from Seneca Village that were found in 2011. Representing the future with the past in mind, works of art and design from the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art are interspersed in the space as well as contemporary furniture, photography, and ceramics alongside The Met’s Michael C. Rockefeller Wing.

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  • Art

MOLDED, a group exhibition to celebrate the contributions made through Black artistry, is opening this month at the TRNK Showroom in TriBeCa in collaboration with Good Black Art, featuring artists Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, Hamzat Raheem, Maya Beverly and Yves Craft. They’ll showcase who they are through their use of unique materials and by using culturally significant mediums that connect art and design. The artists shed light on the craft techniques practiced by Black people including ceramics and assemblage to painting directly onto textiles.

It’ll be on through February at the TRNK Showroom in Tribeca (18 Jay St, New York). 

The Center for Fiction is honoring Black History Month with author events all month:

De’Shawn Charles Winslow
February 8th

Winslow is the winner of The Center for Fiction’s 2019 First Novel Prize. He’s back with Decent People. Set in the same fictional town as his award-winning debut, West Mills, this propulsive mystery centers around a triple homicide and the secrets they reveal in the segregated town. Garth Greenwell will talk with him about the novel and its themes of shame, race, homophobia, money, and the reckoning required to heal a fractured community.

Jamila Minnicks 
February 16th

Minnicks and Robert Jones Jr. will discuss her debut, Moonrise Over New Jessup, which won the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. When Alice arrives in New Jessup, a thriving, self-sufficient Black community where people are skeptical of those lobbying for integration, she falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge the town’s longstanding status quo.

ScreeningThe Big Payback
February 18th

The Center will be screening The Big Payback, a documentary that follows Alderman Robin Rue Simmons' fight to pass the first government-funded reparations program for Black Americans in Evanston, Illinois, alongside Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as she leads a national movement. Co-directors Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow will lead the audience in a community discussion directly after the screening.

Alvin Hall
February 28th

Hall will discuss his Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance, with Jelani Cobb. In the book, Hall travels from New York to Detroit to New Orleans using the former Green Book—the guide that helped Black people travel safely on the nation’s highways and roadways—as a guide, and collects the memories of the last living witnesses who struggled under segregation and for whom the Green Book meant survival. 

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  • Art

Treat yourself to Guy Stanley Philoche’s art series, “Give Us Our Flowers,” this Black History Month at Cavalier Gallery.

Philoche pays homage to Black historical figures in these works, including to James Baldwin, Jackie Robinson and Lena Waithe, who he painted in black and white, surrounded by daisies (his mother’s favorite flower). He also represents everyday people in his works, including a mother and her two sons and a young girl jumping rope with a shirt that reads “My Body, My Choice, My Rights.”

Philoche began painting the series after his best friend died in 2022, wanting to create something to honor unsung heroes.

“After the funeral, I couldn’t stop painting my friend’s portrait and started thinking about others that had never received their praise,” he said. “The people in my works are painted in black and white, allowing for the viewer to focus on the subject matter at hand. I wanted to make sure to call out specific people like Lena Waithe, but also different archetypes like the mother who is working every day for a better tomorrow for her two sons.”

You can see these works and others by William Nelson, Adam Umbach, Jim Rennert, George Rickey, Mark S. Kornbluth and Terry O’Neill at the gallery through February 25.

Ailey Extension events
Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Eccles

16. Ailey Extension events

Celebrate Black History Month with Ailey Extension with its month-long, four-workshop Black History Dance Series. Each Saturday in February at 3:30pm, people of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to join in-studio at the Joan Weill Center for Dance or online to learn the history of legendary Black dance artists such as Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey and dance techniques that originated in Black communities such as hip-hop, and Afro-Cuban:

Katherine Dunham’s Legacy with Marcea Daiter (February 11): Discover the Dunham technique, a polyrhythmic blend of traditional modern dance, ballet, African, and Afro-Caribbean styles, with Marcia Daiter and learn more about Katherine Dunham’s legacy.

Honoring Alvin Ailey with Lisa Johnson-Willingham (February 18): Explore the Horton technique, the foundation of Alvin Ailey’s choreography, and other combinations inspired by some of his most iconic works. Free.

Afro-Cuban Dance and the Diaspora (February 25): La Mora will use Afro-Cuban folkloric dance to dive into how West African culture is deeply interwoven into the history of Cuba and integral to its culture.

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Celebrating all month long, Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his new restaurant Hav & Mar will offer a delicious and unique prix-fixe menu every Monday throughout the month of February. Ingredients from the menu will be thoughtfully sourced from Black-owned or managed companies (including Prince Abou’s Butchery, Makina Café and Striped Lion Rum’s). The prix-fixe dinner is $85/per person (optional wine pairings at $55/pp or spirit-free beverage pairing at $35/pp) every Monday in February from 5-9pm.

The restaurant will also invite guest hosts for each dinner, including Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden on February 6, visual artist Derrick Adams, who also created Hav & Mar’s “We Are From The Water Too” installation, on February 20 and others. 

The 47-story hotel, Park Lane New York, is collaborating with Bronx-born culinary collective, Ghetto Gastro for a limited-edition menu at the restaurant’s restaurant Harry’s New York Bar in honor of Black History Month. Ghetto Gastro uses ancestral ingredients to bring a multitude of flavors and recipes to eaters everywhere, led by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrano and Lester Walker.

Available throughout February, dishes will riff on Ghetto Gastro’s line of WAVY waffle mixes, and include: Mix & Match Ghetto Gastro’s WAVY Waffles (breakfast, $18), featuring Ancestral Roots & Toasted Matcha Waffles topped with Fresh Berries and Walnut Sovereign Syrup; and Fried Chicken & Ghetto Gastro’s WAVY Waffles (dinner, $36), featuring Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Ancestral Roots & Toasted Matcha Waffles with Walnut Sovereign Syrup.

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Want to go to a museum this month?

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