6 signature cultural events for Black History Month
On the occasion of Black History Month, cultural journalists from Subway offer you the activities that turn them on, whether they contribute to a better knowledge of the historical contribution of black communities or that they highlight contemporary Afro-descendant artists.
African music in all its forms!
Productions Nuits d’Afrique have concocted an effervescent series of six exclusive concerts showcasing various musical horizons, presented at the National, the Club Balattou, the Lion d’Or, the Ministère and La Tulipe throughout the month.
Singer Fabiana Cozza opens the ball on February 3 with her sensual Afro-Brazilian music and will share the stage with Senegalese-Quebecer Zal Sissokho, kora player. On February 5, the energetic Quebec composer and performer of Haitian origin Jonas Attis will perform, whose music combines Haitian folklore, reggae, rap and pop. On February 8, Djely Tapa and Dawn Tyler Watson will unite on stage for the first time, under the sign of the blues. On February 16, the Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Cheikh Ibra Fam will dazzle the gallery with his art combining afropop, rap, reggae, funk and soul, preceded in the first part by Quebecer of Senegalese origin Seydina. On February 23, singer-songwriter Senaya will launch her new album, Soulkreol Vol.1. Roots. Finally, the Montrealers of WorldWild SoundSystem will offer a unique creation around reggae in West Africa on February 25th.
From February 3 to 25
The documentary The myth of the black woman
Through his feature documentary The myth of the black womanQuebec director and screenwriter Ayana O’Shun, a lifelong film and television enthusiast, analyzes three stereotypical images representing black women, clichés rooted in history that she herself has too often seen conveyed: the seductress Jezebel, the asexual and maternal Nanny as well as the insolent bitch angry.
Her film gives the floor to 21 women of various ages and backgrounds — experts, artists, academics or activists — who tell their inspiring and poignant stories of the challenges to which stereotypes have exposed them and what it means to being Black in the era of the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements.
Rhythm to the powerful songs of author-composer-performer Dominique Fils-Aimé, the documentary also draws on many striking archives, from then to now, in order to raise awareness and, ultimately, to abolish the myth of the black woman.
The feature film earned Ayana O’Shun at the most recent Montreal International Documentary Meetings the Magnus-Isacsson Prize, awarded to an emerging filmmaker for a film that demonstrates a social conscience.
In theaters February 10
The blaxploitation years at the Cinémathèque
The Cinémathèque québécoise presents 15 iconic blaxploitation films as part of Black History Month. Feature films like shaft, super fly and Blacula are in the spotlight of this eclectic program offering action cinema, martial arts and horror, but also western and melodrama.
Blaxploitation (a term derived from the contraction of the words “blackand “exploitation”) had its heyday in the 1970s in the United States and reflected black aspirations for civil rights, a struggle that had begun two decades earlier. « The gallery of frozen portraits which confined Blacks to a servile position is unbolted in favor of a new aesthetic of (re) valorization of identity », summarizes one on the site of the Cinémathèque.
Several of the works presented feature, among others, Pam Grier, an icon of the genre who returned to center stage in 1997 with the film Jackie Brown of Quentin Tarantino. The great comedian Sidney Poitier is also in the game with the western Buck and The Preacher, presented on February 18. The only downside is the lack of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song by Melvin Van Peebles, sometimes considered the first blaxploitation film.
Until February 20
NFB special programming
If you want to stay in the comfort of your own home, a series of virtual discussions with afrodescendant filmmakers will be broadcast live on the NFB’s YouTube channel on February 8, 15, 22 and 28. The “Light on the Works of Black Directors” section highlights a selection of some twenty films by Black Canadian creators available free of charge.
Want to go out? Several of the films in question will be screened in different locations in Greater Montreal. Thus, short films will be presented at the Mordecai-Richler library on February 4, as well as at the Cartierville and Beaconsfield libraries (dates still to be confirmed). The documentary feature Stateless, which addresses the racism experienced by Haitians in the Dominican Republic, will be presented at the Pointe-Claire Library on February 14 and at the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec on February 15. In addition, programming devoted to animated films is scheduled for February 18 at the Black Community Resource Center in the Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce borough.
Until February 28
Fade to Black Festival
For the 12th edition, the festival created by the Fabienne Cola Foundation is focusing on online and in-person programming that honors Afro-descendant women.
Among the events that will take place during the four days of festivities, note the opening night (February 8 at the Cinémathèque québécoise), during which five short films directed by black women will be screened, the show by Quebecer of Senegalese origin ILAM (February 9 at Ausgang Plaza) and the web component, where documentary films are offered, including the program Being Black in Montreal (also screened on February 10 at the Maison de la culture Notre-Drame-de-Grâce) .
Added to this is a series of major interviews which will open on February 9 at the Grande Bibliothèque with the former leader of the Liberal Party, Dominique Anglade, interviewed by Fabienne Cola. On February 11, at the Afromusée, the choreographer Shérane Figaro will receive the artist, professor of philosophy and author Zab Maboungou for an interview which will be preceded by the presentation of her piece. Duodenum. Finally, to conclude the festival, Déborah Cherenfant will conduct an online interview with Senator Amina Gerba.
From February 8 to 12
The film This house
Montreal filmmaker of Haitian origin, Miryam Charles is recognized in the auteur film world, particularly for her many short films that have been presented at various Quebec and international festivals. With This househer first feature film which was also presented last year at the 72nd Berlinale, the director offers an eminently personal film, with a unique and highly original signature.
In an absolutely unique way, flirting between film essay and experimental film, fiction and documentary, the filmmaker evokes a terrible tragedy that afflicted her family, the rape and death of her teenage cousin, while imagining what life could have been if fate had wanted it otherwise.
The visual and sound treatment is captivating. Without necessarily grasping everything, the spectators let themselves be carried away by this cinematographic object where the images with pronounced grains, shot in 16mm, are linked and superimposed to bear witness to the vision of the filmmaker. We understand that it speaks to us of mourning, but more broadly also of family, exile, identity, roots. As one of the rare women of Haitian origin to direct films in Quebec, her perspective in our national cinematography is almost unprecedented and certainly refreshing.
In theaters February 10