Black History Month is a time to celebrate and learn about the achievements, culture and history of the Black community. While this is something you should be doing every day (Black history is American history, after all), an abundance of Black History Month events in Los Angeles and the surrounding area is certainly cause to celebrate. From movies and museums to storytelling and parades, here’s a selection of what the city has to offer this February.
9 Awesome Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in the LA Area
1. Explore the History of Black Cinema
The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences is the city’s trendiest new museum and cultural hub. The museum is honoring its “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971” exhibition with a weekend-long festival this February. Regeneration Summit will celebrate Black cinema through interactive pop-up activations, live entertainment, film screenings, talks and intimate workshops.
February 3 to February 5
2. Enjoy a Magnificent Market
To celebrate the close of Black History Month, the California African American Museum is hosting a Prosperity Market featuring all the farmers’ market staples including fresh fruits and vegetables, live music and a place for kids to play. This event champions Black farmers, chefs and entrepreneurs across local communities.
Saturday, February 25, 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
3. Listen to a Story for a New Generation
The Skirball Cultural Center is hosting a dramatized reading of the children’s book Olivia Jones! by Phillip Brown. Actors, dancers and spoken word artists will tell the story of a young girl raised in the Deep South who wants to understand the past and improve the future.
Sunday, February. 5 at 1 p.m.
4. Take a Breath to Some Beats
In beats + breathwork, music inspired from Black-influenced genres like soul, funk, Latin and African take you on a journey through healing using breathwork, aka active meditation. Even cooler? The playlists will be available on Spotify after class so you can continue the work at home. Please note that this event is reserved for BIPOC students—all you need to bring is yourself and your yoga mat.
Saturday, February 25 at 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
5. Revisit Foundational Histories at a Comprehensive Exhibition
Afro-Atlantic Histories is a large-scale Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition charting the transatlantic slave trade its effect on the African diaspora. Through a series of dialogues across time, the exhibition features artworks produced across the world in the last four centuries “to reexamine—from a global perspective—histories and stories of enslavement, resilience, and the struggle for liberation.”
Now through September 10
6. Celebrate with the Whole City
The official Los Angeles Black History Month Festival is championed by Open Arms Food Pantry, a local non-profit dedicated to ending hunger and food insecurity. Local vendors, speakers and performing artists will fill the Barack and Michelle Obama Sports Complex for thousands of visitors to enjoy.
Sunday, February 19 at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
7. Experience New Stories at a Film Festival
The 2023 Pan African Film Festival wants to challenge us to “experience a new story of imagination.” The fest will feature a diverse slate of films made by Black directors, writers and actors over the course of the month.
February 9 through February 20
8. See a Historical Parade
Pasadena is home to one of the largest and oldest Black History Month celebrations. The city’s 41st annual parade begins at 10 a.m. on Fair Oaks Avenue. There’s also a festival at Robinson Park, keeping the festivities going through the afternoon.
Saturday, February 18 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
9. Visit the Aquarium for Some Family Fun
Another long-running fest is hosted in Long Beach at the beloved Aquarium of the Pacific. This year’s version will have activities for anyone and everyone including hip hop and break-dancers, Mardi Gras second line dancers, live jazz, interactive drum circles, West African dance and cultural storytelling. The festival is free for everyone who has tickets for general admission.