Black HerStory, Black History and All the Feels Are in Store for This Week’s Virtual Events

Shanelle Genai
·10 min read

Now that the second week of March has come to a close, I’m not sure what to be more excited about: the fact that we get to spring forward this weekend or the fact that the end of this seemingly never-ending quarantine may be closer than originally thought? While each option is enough to make me actually want to dream again (you know, about traveling farther than just from my home to my mailbox), my plan is to continue moving forward with cautious optimism. But the good thing is there are a slew of virtual events happening over the next week that just might help you dream again, too. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, keep reading to find out more.

Before we go any further, I’d just like to go on record by saying that Luke James’ To Feel Love/d album is a sonic masterpiece. (Go listen to it and form a different opinion, I dare you.) Personal feelings aside though, James and Nu Deco Ensemble will be collaborating for a free orchestral interpretation of his latest album—which is up for Best R&B Album at the 2021 Grammys, if I may add. The Grammys will air on CBS this Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET, but you can kick off Grammy weekend with the To Feel Love/d event, airing Friday on the official BET website, YouTube and Facebook page at 8 p.m. ET.

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Presented by Patrón Tequila and BET, 100 percent of the event’s proceeds raised will benefit “Backing the B.A.R.”, a custom initiative between Bacardi (Patrón’s parent company) and the NAACP that provides acceleration grants to Black-owned businesses in the beverage alcohol service, sales, and hospitality industries to provide the resources and education they need to not only survive but succeed. To Feel Love/d is free of charge but donations are encouraged.

I also want to highlight a new art exhibit from Supremacy Project at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse that’s now on view. The Lost Ones. Culture Found. sets images of widely known victims of police brutality and hate crimes in the visual vocabulary of Blue Note album covers and companion haikus in the form of “liner notes”—creating portraits that communicate dignity and potential. The exhibit, curated by Michael T. Boyd and Khadijah Oseni, with “Liner Notes” by Mahogany L. Browne, is free to view outdoors, no registration required in Brooklyn, NY. For the exact location and more information, visit the St. Ann’s website.

Friday, March 12

92Y will be sharing the short film Between Darkness and Light online today in commemoration of the day the COVID-19 pandemic closed the institution’s doors. As a tribute to the resilience and determination of the community in New York and around the world, three artists came together to create the short film, in an effort to showcase that better days are sure to come. Those artists include visual artists Shantell Martin and Shamel Pitts, and the winner of 92Y’s Discovery Poetry prize Paul Tran. View the short film here.

The stage production of Some Old Black Man by playwright James Anthony Tyler and starring Wendell Pierce and Charlie Robinson will be broadly offered as a virtual screening. The two-person, one-act play tells the story of a college professor (Pierce) who lives in a Harlem penthouse and moves his elderly father (Robinson) from rural Mississippi to live with him due to health issues. It delves into a father-son relationship that has fractured in part due to generational clashes over race and opportunity. By turns hysterically funny and incredibly poignant, the play challenges us to learn about the unique perspective of elders whose lived struggles created opportunities for future generations and offers a deeper understanding of the historical context that brought us to where we are today in an increasingly fractured world. The screening is available with for free with registration to view here.

Fashion Group International (FGI) & New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) present Fashion and the First Ladies on Friday in celebration of Women’s History Month! In this hourlong virtual program, industry leaders Fernando Garcia, co-creative director of Oscar de la Renta, Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology Valerie Steele, and fashion historian Carson Poplin will discuss the iconic looks from U.S. First Ladies of government in a candid conversation about how our First Ladies are fashion trendsetters. The panel will explore how fashion plays a role and communicates in history, politics and contributes to the making or breaking of public policy. The conversation will be moderated by The Washington Post Senior Critic at Large, Robin Givhan and only costs $10 for NYWIFT and FGI members and $15 for non-members. The program starts at 1 p.m. ET; visit the website for details on how to register.

Firelight Media and PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will host a special livestreamed Q&A to discuss The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party and its significance to the broader American culture. The conversation will include filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Judas and the Black Messiah director Shaka King, activist and leading Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins, former National Strategies and Partnerships Director at The Movement for Black Lives Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, producer Laurens Grant, and will be moderated by Director of the Sundance Film Festival Tabitha Jackson. The conversation begins at 8 p.m. ET and space is limited, so if you want to save your seat make sure you preorder your free ticket.

Saturday, March 13

NYC’s New Federal Theatre will be celebrating Women’s History Month with a free and accessible online readings series going on now through the 15th. First up is Hospice by Pearl Cleage, directed by Awoye Timpo. Starring award-winning actresses Margaret Odette and Petronia Paley, Hospice tells the story of “Jenny Anderson, who left her lover and moved into her grandmother’s unoccupied house to await the birth of her first child; the last person she expected to show up was her gravely ill mother, ex-patriot poet Alice Anderson, whom she has not seen for twenty years. Leaving her activist husband and ten-year-old daughter, Alice moved to Paris in 1965 to pursue her dreams of writing, free from American racism and the demands of being the devoted wife of a civil rights leader. She returns home hoping to die as she has lived, by her own rules. But Jenny is determined to find answers to questions she has waited a lifetime to ask and Alice is forced to come to terms with the effect of her flight on the daughter she left behind.” Visit here to RSVP.

On the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death, singer and creator Davóne Tines’s presents a virtual screening of VIGIL, a work of art and a call to action dedicated to her memory, followed by a live conversation. Moderators Davóne Tines and Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams will be joined by activist and musician Jecorey Arthur, Rep. Attica Scott and violonist and compioser Jessie Montgomery. This conversation will be livestreamed for free starting at 4:00 pm ET on Lincoln Center’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. For more information, be sure to visit here.

Monday, March 15

Hattiloo Theatre, one of four of the only freestanding Black repertory theaters in the US will be hosting its next theatrical production to highlight diversity within the feminine in celebration of Women’s History Month. The Memphis, Tenn.-based theater will showcase a recorded performance of “The Women of Theatre Monologues,” conceived by Hattiloo Founder and CEO Ekundayo Bandele. Six women of color, all living in Memphis, each with a different ethnic background, will share their cultural perspective of life; those women include: Mexican-American artist and social activist Yancy Villa-Calvo, Mahal Burr, Filipina-American Community Action Coordinator at Bridge Builder, Kenyan-American change agent Judith Maina, Ruby Bright, African-American Memphian and woman’s advocate, Asian-American Chief Development Officer at the National Civil Rights Museum Beverly Sakauye and Puerto Rican-American artist and teacher Maritza Davila. These monologues will be available to view for free.

Tuesday, March 16

Award-winning London promoter Jazz re:freshed and producer British Underground have joined forces with legendary recording space Abbey Road Studios to create a unique streamed showcase for this year’s SXSW Online. Featuring new music from the UK’s explosive emerging jazz scene, performances include Theon Cross, newcomers Doom Cannon and Camilla George. The special online showcase will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET and will be available to experience via SXSW Online 2021. Alongside the showcase, British Underground announced the first ever 3D digital avatar performance at SXSW featuring Theon Cross with motion-capture also filmed at Abbey Road Studios in London. That will be available to experience across SXSW Online’s virtual platform, from March 16 at 4 p.m. ET, for more information, visit their website.

Wednesday, March 17

As we celebrate women worldwide this month, dating app BLK is launching a new live series: “Connection, Community & Conversation: How to Channel Your Black Girl Magic to Glow, Grow and Go” for March. This series will highlight four trailblazing Black women in the fields of entrepreneurship, music, fashion, STEM, and activism. Launched on March 10, these exceptional women will participate in a weekly IG Live series every Wednesday at 8 P.M. ET on BLK’s Instagram page. This Wednesday will feature celebrity stylist Rox Brown in conversation with Kéla Walker as she offers advice and wisdom on how to successfully navigate life, love and career as a Black woman. To catch this talk, be sure to turn your notifications on for BLK’s Instagram page.

Thursday, March 18

The Public Theater and WNYC Studios, one of the industry’s most influential podcast producers, will debut the bilingual audio adaptation of Romeo y Julieta, featuring Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano as the star-crossed lovers. This world premiere production is adapted by Saheem Ali and Ricardo Pérez González and is based on the Spanish translation by Alfredo Michel Modenessi and directed by Saheem Ali. Audiences around the globe can also join an online opening night listening party, presented by The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Nyong’o, Castano and others will join WNYC’s Rebeca Ibarra for an evening featuring an interactive Q & A and live music, presented in English and Spanish. Join before the listening party at 6:45 p.m. for a special cocktail demo and pre-show warm-up. Tune in free of charge; Romeo y Julieta can be found wherever podcasts are available.

TikTok LIVE will close out Fashion Month in style with the Labyrinth Runway Show hosted by Frankie Jonas. An all-star group of TikTok creators, including Leenda Dong, Kristine Thompson, Xavier Martin, Zahra Hashimee, Riley Hubatka; WNBA players Te’a Cooper (Los Angeles Sparks), A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Lexie Brown (Minnesota Lynx), and more will strut down the runway to live performances from global superstar Khalid, K-Pop and international star CL, and Montreal native Lubalin. The runway show, which will spotlight diversity, body positivity, and promote inclusivity within the industry, will feature collections from renowned Black designers Victor Glemaud and Carrots by Anwar Carrots, and TikTok creator Joe Ando. Throughout the livestream, the TikTok community will have the opportunity to shop the plethora of looks styled by TikTok creator and stylist Tabitha Sanchez. Virtual curtains rise at 10 p.m. ET.