There are lots of opportunities to celebrate Black History Month in Seattle this February, from history talks (like Living Voices: The Right to Dream) to movie screenings (like Sweet Sweetback's Badassss Song!) to live performances (like Roger Guenveur Smith: Frederick Douglass Nowr) to food events (like Carla Hall at Junebaby). Find them all below or on our Black History Month calendar.


Black Voices
Soprano Ibidunni Ojikutu, mezzo Cheryse McLeod Lewis, baritone Charles Wesley Evans, and pianist Joseph Williams from the Seattle Art Song Society will present "an evening celebrating black achievement" through music.
Ballard First Lutheran

Through the Eyes of Art
This event will focus on issues impacting the black community in Seattle and beyond through live performances, guest speakers, and discussions. Some program highlights include a spoken-word performance by Tia Nache, a dance performance with Spectrum Dance Theatre, and live music by Draze.
Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Center


7th Annual BSU Legacy Soiree
The University of Washington's Black Student Union hosts this formal public banquet every year to celebrate Black History Month and to raise money for scholarship programs. This year's theme is "Envisioning Black History," and will include live music, performances, honoraria, keynote speakers, dinner, and more. 
Black Student Union of UW, University District

American History Traveling Museum: The "Unspoken" Truths
Celebrate the science and technology contributions of African Americans of the past and present by getting a survey of African American history back to the Jim Crow era. 
Renton Highlands Library

A Commemorative Event for Seattle Civil Rights Leader Edwin T. Pratt
Honor the legacy of civil rights leader Edwin T. Pratt, who served as the Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League before his assassination in 1969. This event will host speakers like Urban League's Michelle Merriweather, Rev. Dr. Phyllis Beaumonte, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, and Pratt's daughter, Miriam Pratt Glover. 
Saint Mark's Cathedral, Capitol Hill


Quenton Baker: Ballast
In 1841, American-born slaves on the brig Creole, led by a man named Madison Washington, commandeered the ship bringing them toward a continued life of misery and cruelty. They landed on British territory, where they found their freedom. Award-winning local poet Quenton Baker takes off on this story to examine black history from a personal standpoint, as he did in his collection This Glittering Republic. The survival struggle of long-ago people and the lingering effects of slavery on the psyche of those born free inspired Baker’s “erasure poems,” which he created by blacking out words in the Senate report on the Creole. Baker uses this selective elimination process to take control of the historical narrative, directing the viewer’s consciousness to unintended meanings. The title of this exhibition, which grew out of Baker's book-in-progress, refers to the ballast counterweighting the Creole's human cargo. JOULE ZELMAN
Frye Art Museum, First Hill


Monday Movie Night
See free screenings of Marvel's acclaimed Afrofuturism film Black Panther (Feb 4), the film adaptation of the YA novel The Hate U Give (Feb 11), and the Wizard of Oz parody The Wiz (Feb 26) with free pizza.
Renton Highlands Library


#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Seattle School Board Mobilization
Join the NAACP Youth Coalition as they offer a list of #BlackLivesMatter demands—including ending zero tolerance, mandating black history and ethnic studies, hiring more black teachers, and funding "counselors not cops"—at this Seattle School Board meeting.
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Pioneer Square

The Art of Black Urbanism
Join University of Pennsylvania Professor Dr. Matthew Miller and Seattle artist Jessica Rycheal for a discussion of black visibility and "shifting spaces in the community." A reception will follow. 
University of Washington, Architecture Hall, University District


Celebration of Ryan Coogler
As part of the library's Celebration of Ryan Coogler film series, see the directo's most influential films: Fruitvale Station (Feb 6), Creed (Feb 13), and Black Panther (Feb 27). 
King County Library, Skyway

Documentary Film Series
See documentary screenings about influential black figures in American history: Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (Feb 6), Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (Feb 13), and I Am Not Your Nigro (Feb 27).
Renton King County Library


Framing Blackness: Documenting the Spectrum of Black Identity
Portrait photographer Jessica Rycheal (co-creator of the former exhibit Everyday Black) explores "the spectrum of black identity" in this workshop. Specifically, she'll talk about how she uses photography as a means to combat the erasure of black history and identity caused by colonialism and slavery.
Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, University District

Kijiji Night 2019
Experience "the spirit of an African village" through a live musical performance honoring Ghanian recording artist Samini and Seattle's Gabriel Teodros; storytelling by Nana Kibibi; poetry; readings of excerpts from One Vibe's photo book, and an "unlimited supply" of African food.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown


Kenneth Moore: Conversations in Black Surreality
Kenneth Moore, who was born in 1949, is a black Los Angeles-based surrealist artist who has never before had a solo exhibition in Seattle. He's also the founder of the jazz club Howling Monk, and jazz sensibilities permeate his visual style. The gallery is exhibiting more than 25 paintings from 1973 to 2018.
Frederick Holmes and Company, Pioneer Square


Black History Month Artist Showcase: Aramis O. Hamer
Meet Seattle artist Aramis O. Hamer, whose work is inspired by "the cosmos, astrology, divine femininity, Black girl magic, and hiphop." 
Renton King County Library


Roger Guenveur Smith: Frederick Douglass Now
Roger Guenveur Smith blew the top off my fucking skull when he came through Seattle a few years ago with his Rodney King solo show. Smith is an incomparably good character actor with an incredible command of language and a jazz-infused storytelling technique I haven't seen from anyone else. The Stranger's Sean Nelson called it "a master class in wringing glorious art from life's tragic dimension," a sentiment I agree with completely. Now Smith is coming through with Frederick Douglass Now, a solo show about the self-liberated abolitionist who is "getting recognized more and more," the president notices. Somehow, tickets for Rodney King didn't sell out back in 2016. Don't make that mistake again this time, Seattle. RICH SMITH
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Central District


Chef BJ Dennis Dinner
Charleston-born chef Benjamin "BJ" Dennis will bring his interpretation of soul food, influenced by the Gullah Geechee culture (descendants of Central and West Africans who live in the Lowcountry region of Georgia and South Carolina) and his four years of study in St. Thomas, to Edouardo Jordan's award-winning Southern restaurant JuneBaby.
JuneBaby, Ravenna

FEBRUARY 10 & 24

Black History Month Lecture: Afrofuturism 101 with Nisi Shawl
Join sci-fi writer Nisi Shawl for a talk on the science fiction universe of Afrofuturism by way of Ryan Coogler, Octavia Butler, and Janelle Monae.
Renton King County Library


African-American Writers' Alliance Poetry Reading
Hear poets from the Northwest's African American community in a reading organized by the NW African American Writers' Alliance, which promotes emerging and seasoned writers and publishes anthologies.
Third Place Books Seward Park, Rainier Valley


Partners in Civic Innovation: The Liberty Bank Building Project
The Liberty Bank Building is home to a network of nonprofits that serve the African American community in the Central District—a feat of resilience in an area continually facing racist disinvestment and redlining. At this panel discussion, hear from representatives of Africatown, Byrd Barr Place, Capitol Hill Housing, and the original Liberty Bank as they share their inspiration for the project in partnership with the Black Community Impact Alliance. You can also try samples from That Brown Girl Cooks and check out previews of the art that will be featured in the new Liberty Bank Building. 
Museum of History & Industry, South Lake Union


Sistas Rock the Arts presents Black Love Matters More
Check out a spoken-word performance by Janelle Jolly, songs by Phyllis Talley and Michael Avery, poems by Verbal Oasis, and more at this Sistas Rock the Arts event. If you have your own piece to share, get on stage during the open mic portion. 
Rumba Notes Lounge, Columbia City


Showing Out: The Word! Untied and Untethered
Dani Tirrell curates this performance showcase for emerging Northwest-based black poets, screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, spoken word artists, and wordsmiths. 
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Central District


Black Panther
Because I do not want to spoil the experience of this movie, I will not describe the path of the film's plot to its core problem, which concerns the unification of black Africa with black America. Out of a comic book, director Ryan Coogler crafted an important concept about how, from the unification, a post-pan-Africanist global Africanism can emerge. It comes down to this: black Africans and black Americans have to admit their respective failings. (My feeling is that Coogler is much harder on black Americans than black Africans.) As a whole, Black Panther is lots of fun and will excite a lot of discussion and strong opinions. But the most revolutionary thing about Black Panther is its city. The capital of Wakanda has skyscrapers, a monorail, sidewalks of grass, green buildings, farmers markets, and no cars. The whole idea of private transportation is foreign to this fictional society. If this black African capital has anything to share with the world, it's its city planning. CHARLES MUDEDE
Central Cinema, Central District


Sweet Sweetback's Badassss Song!
In the ’80s, my film prof assigned us Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song!, auteur Melvin Van Peebles’s low-budget, avant-garde, proto-blaxploitation film. My main memory is of Van Peebles running away from the “pigs” to the extraordinary, kinetic funk of pre-hit-making Earth, Wind & Fire while wearing gold velvet trousers. It’s a motif that sticks with you. The plot—wherein Sweetback (MVP), a brothel sex show performer who gets trapped in a convoluted scheme involving a Black Panther, tries to escape US authorities by crossing into Mexico—is less important than the fantastic soundtrack, the sex and fight scenes, and the sensation of black men beating the system while looking fly. DAVE SEGAL
Central Cinema, Central District


Carla Hall at Junebaby
For Black History Month, acclaimed JuneBaby chef Edouardo Jordan is enlisting some major talent, including the ebullient Nashville-born chef and TV personality Carla Hall, former co-host of ABC's The Chew and a former contestant and fan favorite on Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars. Hall, who spent years working as a runway model in Paris, Milan, and London in the nineties and ate her way through Europe, cooks Southern food inspired by her memories of her grandmother's Sunday suppers and espouses a philosophy of "cooking with love," insisting that the warmth and care will come through in the finished product. (It seems to check out: The inimitable Jacques Pépin once said he could "die happy" after tasting her fresh peas.) At this event, she'll bring her soul food stylings to JuneBaby's menu.
JuneBaby, Ravenna

Living Voices: The Right to Dream
Witness the fight for civil rights in America through the eyes of an African American student in Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s through a mix of live performances and archival film. 
Museum of History & Industry, South Lake Union


BabexHouse Presents: Black Queer History In The Making
Dance in honor of Marsha P. Johnson and other black queer activists of the past with DJs Halfdead, JennGreen, Reverend Dollars, NO.Bi.Es, Ancient Mariner, and others. You can also buy artwork from Iamshakera, knowing that proceeds will benefit the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network. 
Timbre Room, Downtown

MĂ©tier Brewing Company Beer Dinner
Brewmaster Rodney Hines, owner of the recently opened MĂ©tier Brewing Company in Woodinville, will join Salare for a dinner focused on "the impact and value of strong diverse communities."
Salare, Ravenna


Memoirs from the Diaspora: Not for Consumption
Experience stories of the Black diaspora from African-descended media makers and film artists focusing on liberation and healing from generational trauma.
Central Library, Downtown

Virtual Tour of Renton's African American Historical Sites
Renton residents John Houston and Benita Horn will share the accomplishments of the city's black community members throughout history on this virtual tour. 
Renton History Museum


Chef Talk with High School Students
Chef Edouardo Jordan, the recipient of two James Beard Awards for his Ravenna restaurants Salare and JuneBaby, will share inspiration and knowledge with high school students.
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Capitol Hill


Chef Talk with High School Students
Chef Edouardo Jordan, the recipient of two James Beard Awards for his Ravenna restaurants Salare and JuneBaby, will share inspiration and knowledge with high school students.
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Capitol Hill


Aldon Morris: W.E.B. Du Bois at the Center
In a UW Public Lecture installment, the Northwestern University Professor of Sociology and African American Studies will argue that NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois was the "father of scientific sociology in the United States," based on research compiled in his latest book, The Scholar Denied. 
Kane Hall, University District


Danny Giles: The Practice and Science of Drawing a Sharp White Background
Chicago-based artist Danny Giles is interested in a lot of things—namely, how to address “the dilemmas of representing and performing identity and interrogate histories of oppression and creative resistance.” Using sculpture, video, and live performance, Giles’s work doesn’t necessarily give answers but pushes us to ask questions about police surveillance, understandings of race and identity, and the relationship between state power and anti-black violence. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University District

The Hate U Give: Screening and Discussion
Join EmpoweHERment for a discussion for a discussion following a screening of The Hate U Give, about a young black student who deals with the death of her best friend by the hand of a white police officer.
King County Library, Skyway


Bold As Love: Jimmy at Home
This Jimi Hendrix exhibit, which opens on the late, legendary Seattle guitar player's 76th birthday, features archival and family photos, Hendrix's own artwork, personal artifacts, music findings, and more from throughout his life.
Northwest African American Museum, Atlantic

Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lies
Enter Edgar Arceneaux’s unassuming wooden structure—a low, irregular-sided wooden shack—and find yourself in a parallel-world library of sugar-crystal clouded books. Their titles may be or merely recall the Western canon, like a sequence including the clearly referential Birth of a Nation and the murkier Birth of a Night, Nation Goodnight, and finally, Goodnight Moon. According to museum materials, this installation—first exhibited in Paris in 2016—concerns Arceneaux’s preoccupations with history, memory, and our subjective human reconstructions of both. The result looks like a cramped, mazelike hideaway, a metaphor for the limits imposed on our views of the past by our own need for containment. By amassing references to many different narratives, Arceneaux constructs an anti-narrative of history. JOULE ZELMAN
Henry Art Gallery, University District