In 1995, the first Black female MP, Jean Augustine, introduced a motion in the House of Commons that was passed unanimously to recognize February as Black History Month across Canada. Now, every year, this month is dedicated to celebrating and learning about Black history. On The Record has compiled a list of events centred on arts and culture to celebrate Black History Month in Toronto.
Hosted by the YMCA of Greater Toronto, this showcase will feature artists of different genres, including music, art, poetry, dance and more. The event will be hosted on YouTube live here at 1 p.m. The acts set to perform are singer Saraphina Knight, R&B singer-songwriter Aaron Ridge, poet Gabrielle Cohen, dance and drum ensemble Ngoma and steel panist Earle La Pierre Jr.
Harbourfront Centre will be hosting Kuumba, a celebration of Black culture through dance performances, music, workshops and literary events. The event will take place all month long.
Before the 6ix: Behind The Beat
This online presentation put on by the Toronto Public Library features hosts Del Cowie and DJ Agile as they explore the relationship between Toronto’s present day hip-hop culture and the important roots of its past. The event also includes guests such as K-Cut, Zoé SOUNDmind (AFIME arts) and Rich Kidd to add to the discussion. The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and can be found on the Toronto Public Library website here.
Freedom: The Spirit and Legacy of Black Music
Hosted by actor, musician and playwright Beaux Dixon, this demonstration will feature a lecture and performances from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. The event begins at noon and can be streamed on YouTube here.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) will feature 200 films from over 30 countries and will open with the Canadian première of Krystin Ver Linden’s film ALICE. Alongside the films and documentaries, the festival will also offer free panel discussions with industry professionals who will share their experiences in filmmaking. The TBFF will also feature a live performance series on its Facebook, which will showcase various genres of music from different artists. An all-access pass to the festival can be purchased for $99 and individual tickets are also available.
Black History Month Paint Night
Sign up for a virtual paint night hosted by the Sheridan Student Union to enjoy an evening of “painting, reflecting and valuable conversations” with the event host Micah Nelson. Nelson is a holistic health practitioner, yoga instructor, author and art therapy coach. The event takes place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and can be accessed through registration here.