Miami is getting ready for another stand-out Black History Month, with no shortage of ways to celebrate Black culture and contributions this year. As we enter the month, we thought we’d help you out and break down some of the best performances, exhibits and events taking place across the city.
Read on to discover how you can partake in and enjoy Black History Month this February:
Currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art are “Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè” and Leah Gordon’s “Kanaval.” Translated as “We’ve Left That All Behind,” Didier William’s exhibit presents an in-depth look at the Haitian-born, North Miami-raised artist’s career through biographical anecdotes captured in more than 40 artworks. Also on view, “Kanaval” is a series of black-and-white images by photographer, filmmaker, curator, and writer Leah Gordon that documents the celebration of Carnival in Haiti over 20 years.
In addition to the exhibits, MOCA is offering a series of free programming to commemorate Black History Month all monthlong, including:
- MOCA Moving Images: Moloch Tropical (2009): A screening of “Moloch Tropical,” a film about the political revolution in Haiti, followed by a conversation with Arts For Learning Program Director, choreographer and dancer Ivy Bennet and Haitian-American filmmaker and artist, Monica Sorrell.
- Sunday Stories: “Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills” by Renée Watson: Participants will learn about Florence Mills, also known as the “Queen of Happiness,” and make their own Happy Sun with a polaroid selfie.
- Jazz at MOCA Featuring Troy Anderson and The Wonderful World Band: As part of MOCA’s free outdoor concert series on the last Friday of every month, the museum will present Troy Anderson and The Wonderful World Band.
Where: 770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161
The fourth annual community event, free and for all ages, spotlights and celebrates African Diaspora artists in our community. This year’s festival returns with a vendor marketplace, afro-theory dance workshop led by Show Stopper Dance Studio’s Kerine Jean-Pierre, a pop-up gospel performance by Rev. Melvin Dawson & the Genesis Fellowship Delegation and pop/R&B singer and X-Factor alum Victoria Blue and beats by DJ Nickymix.
When: Saturday, February 4 at 3 p.m.
Where: Thomson Plaza for the Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
This special evening will feature sultry and smooth jazz numbers from the iconic Miles Davis Quintet under the gentle glow of candlelight. The lovely Plaza Turf at Jungle Island will set the stage for classics from “If I Were a Bell” to “‘Round About Midnight.” Get your tickets here!
When: Sunday, February 19 at 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Where: The Plaza Turf, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, FL, 33132
In collaboration with Ballyhoo Media, Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) Floating Films Series is back and in celebration of Black History Month, they’ll be screening the original 2018 Black Panther. The Marvel film will be played from the water and guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the museum’s terrace and beach. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
When: Thursday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
This annual jazz concert celebrates the soul of high art and music that was carried across the Americas along with the steel drum. For 2023, West African Beats will feature Trinidad’s steel pan virtuoso, Leon Foster Thomas, and his internationally-acclaimed jazz ensemble. Joining the concert will be Miami’s own incomparable dancers of Peter London Dance Company, who share Foster’s Trinidadian roots.
When: Saturday, February 11 at 8 p.m.
Where: Miami Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141
In the same Afrobeats lane is Miramar’s third Annual Afro-Carib Festival, featuring reggae phenomenon Koffee and afropop star Tekno along with a host of other local and national artists in R&B, reggaeton and kompa. The festival was created to celebrate the blended cultures that evolved through a shared bond rooted in African origins. These powerful bonds have manifested to create a people rich in music, culture and cuisine.
When: Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m.
Where: Miramar Amphitheater, 16801 Miramar Parkway Miramar, FL 33027
In Chris Friday’s new exhibit, “Good Times,” a reference to the popular ‘70s sitcom, she showcases large-scale drawings of black bodies at leisure – playing, dancing, resting. However, what visitors will notice is that the figures in Friday’s impressive drawings are turned slightly away from the viewers, keeping parts of themselves hidden. Before 2020, Friday’s artwork was an expression of her own willingness to directly address and have conversations around systemic issues facing Black communities. However, after the murder of George Floyd and the public nature of his death, Friday and her figures turned inward. “Good Times” is free to view.
When: Monday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m.
Where: Oolite Arts, 924 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
8. Cocktails honoring historical figures at Beaker & Gray
In honor of Black History Month, Beaker & Gray is partnering with Black-woman-owned Uncle Nearest Whiskey to present “Rebels & Legends,” a journey into obscure figures in Black history. Each week in February will feature an inspired cocktail sharing notable histories:
- Week 1 – Black Caesar, thought to be African royalty, was known for his size, strength and intellect and raided ships in the keys before joining forces with Blackbeard in the 1700’s. Cocktail: Black Caesar (coconut infused Uncle Nearest Rye 100 Proof, Appleton 12yr, lime, pimento dram)
- Week 2 – Ada Thompson was a domestic worker most of her life, but during the prohibition era she was one of the only African American women to supplement her income by running a speakeasy in her neighborhood. Cocktail: Sneaky Sneaky Sazerac (Uncle Nearest 1884, Peychaud’s Bitters, berbere spice cordial, cardamon absinthe)
- Week 3 – In the 1800’s, Peter Hemmings was an African American Brewmeister that oversaw brewing and malting at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello house. Cocktail: Hemmings Float (Uncle Nearest 1884, Averna Amaro, amaretto, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, imperial stout float)
- Week 4 – Wendell Scott was the first African American recruited into NASCAR, but before his professional racing career he had a side job running whiskey. Cocktail: High Octane (Uncle Nearest Rye, Disaronno, Aperol, pineapple, raspberry, citrus)
Where: 2637 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127
Apple is celebrating Black History Month at Apple’s Aventura Store through a limited series highlighting the theme of “Black Resistance Through Art.” Inspired by the vast African diaspora, the free sessions will be led by emerging Black creators pushing boundaries in the arts, including a performance by musical duo, PAPERWATER on Feb. 24 and a Live Art painting session with local artist, poet, and Afro-Latina entrepreneur Reyna Noriega on Feb. 26. Events are free to attend with registration.
Taking its name from Langston Hughes’ 1941 poem, this year’s two-week festival takes guests on a tour through interwar Europe to meet the Black musicians who transformed art and culture on both sides of the Atlantic. New World Symphony will take a closer look at the pivotal moment in music that went on to shape early jazz and inspire composers like Ravel and Stravinsky through several events.
When: February 3 through February 15
Where: New World Center, 500 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
This free series pairs the best local gospel artists with nationally-renowned gospel headliners. Closing out Black History Month, Pastor Marc Cooper and Free Gospel Sundays’ resident choir, the Miami Mass Choir, return to the stage. Miami Mass Choir’s debut album, 1997’s It’s Praying Time, reached No. 25 on Billboard’s gospel albums chart and earned the choir the Stellar Award for Choir of the Year. Since then, the group has recorded several more albums, including Miami Mass Choir LIVE at the Adrienne Arsht Center, been nominated for a Grammy Award and performed on MTV.
When: Sunday, February 26 at 5 p.m.
Where: Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132