And we back and we back! The second week of Black History Month is well underway and of course The Root is back with another installment of some bomb virtual events to turn up (or turn down) to. We know life at the crib can get a bit mundane. Every now and then you need just a little something, something to make you feel like there’s still something cool to look forward to other than the weekly Taco Tuesday nights. Well, in the spirit of Insecure—we got y’all. And for all my Lovebirds, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about Valentine’s Day. Keep reading to find out more.
Award-winning nonprofit Arts Help, the largest creative community for the visual arts, is launching a digital exhibition in honor of Black History Month. This latest series will provide a platform for artists, activists, and art lovers to engage in meaningful dialogue around the featured works and about the importance of Black representation. The exhibition will also be shared across their digital community of 3.5 million in order to give light to diverse voices. Curators include artists such as Director X and Harmonia Rosales and will feature rising Black talent including Josef Adamu, Alex Peter Idoko, and many others. Make sure to turn on your social media post notifications and visit their site to view the incredible art.
The Actors Fund, which is the national human services organization arts for entertainment performers, along with affordable housing developer Thomas Safran & Associates, broke ground on The Hollywood Arts Collective on Thursday—a $120 million project that will include 151 units of affordable housing for artists, the 86-seat Glorya Kaufman Theater, art galleries, rehearsal studios, nonprofit arts office space, and a new home for The Actors Fund Western Region Headquarters. Vice Chair of The Actors Fund Annette Bening, Chairman of The Actors Fund Brian Stokes Mitchell and Western Council member and Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson were all in attendance. To view the groundbreaking and learn more about The Actor’s Fund, be sure to visit here.
Chicago’s North Central College Performing Arts is hosting Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies, a stageplay. From the Looziana Bayous, where the alligators got soul and the good times roll, comes Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies, a charismatic six-piece troupe of near-mad musical provocateurs, performing a thrilling crescendo of Cajun accordion, fiddle, rubboards, electrifying drums, and more. Visit here for more info.
SoundExchange, the company that delivers digital radio royalties to the artists generated primarily from SiriusXM and Pandora, has launched a special series that highlights different music executives and artists talking about their Black heroes. In honor of Black History Month, the capsules feature insight and commentary from Columbia Records’ Head of Urban Music Phylicia Fant, MC Lyte, Tiffany Haddish, and more. Click here to watch.
For Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, Facebook Dating is hosting a “Black is Love” panel to discuss the importance of empowering Black love on Facebook’s Lift Black Voices Hub. Join The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee, rapper Saweetie, LGBTQIA activist and TV personality TS Madison, Black Love Inc. CEO Codie Elaine Oliver, and dating expert and host of the TLC show Love at First Swipe Devyn Simone for an intimate conversation on what it means to celebrate Black love, media portrayals of Black love, and how to prioritize self-care and self-love while dating during the pandemic. To watch the panel, visit here.
Ahead of Judas and the Black Messiah’s HBO Max premiere on Friday, Stanley Nelson’s 2015 documentary about Fred Hampton, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of The Revolution, is currently available to stream on Amazon’s PBS Documentaries platform and to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and FandangoNOW. The documentary explores the the history of the Black Panther Party as well as insight into the murder of one of its most electrifying leaders. See a short clip from the documentary below.
Everyone’s favorite love crooner John Legend is hosting a “Weekend of Love,” a Valentine’s Day event where he will be performing an intimate Instagram Live concert featuring several of his hit love songs to his fans. Legend is also encouraging fans to create their own IG Reels using his iconic song “All of Me” and the hashtag #ReelLove. He’ll be sharing some of his favorites to his personal Instagram stories all weekend long. Make sure you turn your post notifications on so you don’t miss out on these legendary love-filled festivities.
New York’s leading nonprofit off-Broadway company the MCC Theater is hosting Open Mic, On Love, inspired by the various types of love explored in the LiveLab, including family love, community love, friendship love, and self-love. Participants are invited to share with the digital audience spoken words, songs, monologues, or poetry that echo how they have been moved or affected by love. For more information or to sign up for the free event, please visit here.
Chicago’s Wirtz Center for Performing Arts at Northwestern University is hosting The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead, now through February 14 as a part of Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights’ Reading Series. An entertaining theatrical event, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World hums with the heartbeat of improvisational jazz. And because I know you don’t want to miss it—make sure you visit here to view.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents the highly anticipated Let Freedom Ring Vol. 2, a provocative exploration of the meaning of freedom. The digital billboard-based series features artwork by established and emerging artists deeply engaged in an ongoing dialogue about the artists’ role in art, social justice, equity, and inclusion. Set to coincide with Black History Month and President’s Day, Let Freedom Ring Vol. 2 will run for a limited time on the BAM sign screen located at the corner of Lafayette and Flatbush Avenues. The project aims to spark a continuous civic discourse in Brooklyn and encourage viewers to reflect on what freedom means in 2021 and is a follow-up to last month’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute installation.
The Ailey Extension is celebrating Black History Month with a whole host of virtual workshops and classes dedicated to exploring the various dances within the African diaspora. Join them for the Brasilian Carnaval Workshop with Rio’s own Danielle Lima for a lesson on “Bloco Afro” and perfect “Samba No Pe” footwork. For more info, visit here.
The New York Federal Theatre will host a reading of When the Chickens Come Home to Roost by Laurence Holder, directed by Ralph McCain and featuring Allie Woods as Elijah Muhammad and Lawrence Winslow as Malcolm X. The play centers on the relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, the beating heart of the Black Muslim movement. Its title is a reference to Malcolm X’s notorious comment in the wake of JFK’s assassination. The comment caused him to be censured by Muhammad, causing a rift between the Nation of Islam’s founder and his star disciple. New Federal Theatre’s 1981 premiere production starred Kirk Kirksey as Elijah Muhammad and Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. The event is free, though donations are gratefully accepted. Visit here to view.
Revry, the global Queer TV network founded 75% by people of color and 50% Black women, is expanding its existing Black Lives Matter curation of films, series, and music videos. On Valentine’s Day, they’ll offer four unique stories that all explore different iterations of love and community. Her Story is about two trans women in Los Angeles who have given up on love, when chance encounters give them hope; His Story enters the fantasy of Noah and Chris, two stepbrothers who get a reality check in a story of lust; Gina Yashere: Laughing To America follows UK comedian Gina Yashere as she comes to America and explores her unique take on being a cultural outsider and the news gripping the nation; Threesome follows poly couple Vanessa and Justin as they search for the perfect woman to join their relationship, which proves easier said than done. To watch, visit Revry’s live linear channels and on-demand at www.watch.revry.tv.
Start off your Valentine’s evening by celebrating love and friendship with dance at Ailey Extension! Celebrate with your sweetheart (whether you’re together or not) with the ideal pre-dinner date night activity, invite your friends for the perfect addition to virtual Valentine’s happy hour, or fly solo for an ultimate celebration of self-love. No partner or experience is required—meet new people in our online community where folks come together to enjoy dance. For more info, visit here.
The Afropsychedlia Series from The Sabina Project, a Black-led platform for psychedelic education, training, and harm reduction, will be streaming for free February 15–19 and will share stories of transformation and self-discovery from across the iaspora in honor of Black History Month. The series features free access to interviews and presentations with leading Black psychedelic explorers and educators. They’ll be sharing tales of their personal journeys using Sacred Earth Medicine for healing, sharing their expertise, and providing insight into how you can integrate these powerful allies into your own healing journey. To learn more, visit here.
Revry is back with three more stories, all highlighting unique and riveting journeys of those within the LQBTQIA community. My Trans Life Season 2 showcases inspiring trans individuals on their journeys of acceptance. From preparing for major surgery, to tackling love lives, to campaigning for equality, My Trans Life follows transgender people facing the world in the body they were meant to be in. It includes Cheetah in August, a story about a former high school track athlete whose distorted views on love negatively affect the people closest to him; and Clash, a critique on the lack of QPOC representation in UK television and film, highlighting inequality and the absence of media engagement with Britain’s colonial past.