Our Story, Our Song
“The Black Church” premieres on PBS, February 16 and 23
“The Black Church” explores a bedrock religious institution with cultural and political influence far beyond church walls, dating back to religious roots in Africa that contributed to what Gates called “a big religious foundational stew.”
“So much of the way we’ve interpreted the Bible and so much of the way we’ve embraced it has been about the struggle,” said Legend, whose family was deeply involved in the church and its music during his upbringing in Ohio. “In the Old Testament, a lot of the doctrine that we hold onto is that that idea of the Exodus, going to the Promised Land, Moses leading his people to freedom and ‘Let my people go’ – these were the mantras that were part of the freedom movement, both freedom from slavery and freedom from Jim Crow.”
“The Black Experience in NYC” Offers Virtual and In-Person Programming Throughout Boroughs, Black History Month and Beyond
NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, has launched a new centralized resource for locals and visitors, The Black Experience in NYC, available at nycgo.com/TheBlackExperience.
With new neighborhood guides, videos, interviews, articles, roundups of Black-owned businesses and more to be added over time, this evergreen content hub is dedicated to celebrating the diversity and nuances within New York City’s Black community and all that makes it unique in the world.
Timely events and celebrations will also be highlighted, including dynamic cultural programming, which is being offered both virtually and in person this Black History Month and beyond. NYC & Company has collated 21 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in 2021 in NYC, below. For more virtual activities, visitors can check out the Black History Month collection at nycgo.com/virtualnyc.
- NYC Restaurant Week® To Go has officially been extended until February 28. New Yorkers can order takeout/delivery meals for $20.21 at more than 570 eateries, including this collection of almost 40 Black-owned restaurants that are participating in the program.
- The prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is sharing videos of previous on-stage performances with Ailey All Access, including a current spotlight on Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, Ronald K. Brown’s Grace, Robert Battle’s Takademe and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, all performed at Lincoln Center. Additionally, as part of Ailey Extension, students can explore a range of dance techniques from across the African diaspora with workshops and classes throughout the month of February.
- The Bronx Museum of the Arts has extended its Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch exhibit through April 5, featuring more than 50 quilt-based works by the New York–based artist, whose work weaves together contemporary art with African American history and traditions.
- On February 19 CUNY’s Center for Black Literature (CBL) will offer a free, online panel discussion about We Are Worth Fighting For: A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989, featuring Dr. Joshua Myers of Howard University; Mayor Ras J. Baraka of Newark, NJ; April R. Silver of AKILA WORKSONGS; and writer asha bandele.
- Downtown Alliance is partnering with Black Gotham Experience Founder Kamau Ware on a new written series about the African diaspora in New York, and Lower Manhattan’s role within those stories. Ware’s first piece focuses on the Slave Market at Pearl Street and Wall Street.
- Flushing Town Hall is presenting Black History Trilogy, a special three-part series featuring performances by Broadway’s Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and André De Shields.
- With Harlem Heritage Tours, individuals can explore the Upper Manhattan neighborhood’s rich history, with guided tours covering topics including the Harlem Renaissance, the American civil rights movement, and more.
- Inside Out Tours is offering both in-person and virtual versions of the Lower Manhattan NYC Slavery & the Underground Railroad Walking Tour, which explores New York City’s colonial roots, including the site of the City’s first slave market, a former stop on the Underground Railroad, the African Burial Ground Memorial, and more.
- Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is rolling out virtual Black History Month programs including exciting, impactful and ongoing programs in dance, music, film, spoken word, theater and more.
- Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, the only dedicated LGBTQ art museum in the world, is reopened its doors this Saturday, February 6. Those looking to experience the museum from home this month can stream the new Rashaad Newsome: Black Magic performance film, which celebrates the resiliency and strength of the Black Queer community.
- Louis Armstrong House Museum presented The Real Ambassadors in Concert on February 9. The free, online concert celebrates the 60-year-old album by Dave and Iola Brubeck, which features a jazz musical written in Louis Armstrong’s honor.
- The Metropolitan Opera celebrates Black History Month with two weeks of Nightly Opera Streams featuring some of the greatest performances by African American singers from the past 50 years, including Kathleen Battle, Lawrence Brownlee, Jessye Norman, Eric Owens, Leontyne Price, Florence Quivar, Shirley Verrett and others.
- This month, Brooklyn’s Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is presenting six online programs celebrating the contributions of African American chefs, distillers, activists and more. The series highlights themes from the museum’s upcoming African/American: Making the Nation’s Table exhibition, which has been delayed since March 2020.
- Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America debuts at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on February 20, exploring how architecture, Blackness and anti-Black racism intersect, with 10 newly commissioned pieces on display for the first time. The exhibit is on display through May 31.
- From February 17 through June 6, the New Museum is presenting Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America. With works by 37 artists across video, painting, sculpture, photography and more, the exhibition addresses the concept of mourning, commemoration and loss in response to the racist violence that Black communities across the nation experience.
- The virtual 28th edition of the New York African Film Festival runs today through February 14 at Film at Lincoln Center and from February 18 through March 4 at the Maysles Documentary Center, spotlighting 10 feature films and 21 short films from Africa, Europe, North America and South America.
- From February 15 to 19, Queens Botanical Garden will present Celebrating Black Botanists: Midwinter Break Family Virtual Series online, celebrating historical Black botanists and scientists with demonstrations of their discoveries, suggested at-home activities and an introduction to BIPOC-led organizations that are carrying on the legacies of their work.
- The Shed is debuting a new film and self-guided audio tour by Kamau Ware (Black Gotham Experience) titled Fighting Dark, exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn’s history of racial violence and resilience in the 19th century, including the July 1863 race riots.
- In conjunction with its Women of the Nation Arise! exhibit, the Staten Island Museum will present an online discussion, Drusilla Poole and Local Suffragists in Their Own Words, on February 18. The session will highlight the work of local suffragists including Drusilla Poole, whose organization, the Women’s Civic and Political Union, encouraged Black women on Staten Island to vote and learn about politics.
- In celebration of Black History Month, St. George Theatre’s Virtual Arts-in-Education series will introduce students grades K–5 to concepts like freedom, integration and equality by telling the stories of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The shows are available for viewing through February 28.
- This Saturday, February 6, The Studio Museum in Harlem is offering a Visual Storytelling Workshop as part of its Memories for the Future workshop series. Led by teaching artists and visual storytellers Jazmin Jones and Jeannette Rodríguez-Píneda, the workshop will teach participants to use visual storytelling skills in creating a personal short film.
Those exploring the five boroughs are encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing and frequently wash and sanitize hands, as indicated in NYC & Company’s Stay Well Pledge.
For more information about all there is to see and do in New York City, visit www.nycgo.com/TheBlackExperience which leads readers to all of the content.