Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their important role in U.S. history. The event was originally the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Following is a list of Los Angeles events and cultural institutions participating in Black History Month.
The annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) is America’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country. Veteran actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield is this year’s celebrity host, and award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in television and film. PAFF is taking place at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The festival kicks off with a star-studded Opening Night Gala on Thursday, February 7th at the headquarters of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in West Hollywood.
Now in its 21st year, PAFF screens more than 150 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe and Canada. PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover, Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois, and Executive Director Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in African Affairs. PAFF is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibition of films, art and creative expression.
Black Women: State of the Union (BWSOTU) is a theatrical and community event that represents and celebrates Black women as complex and resilient people. BWSOTU promotes greater understanding of Black women’s significant contributions to the world through performance, visual arts, community events and media. To celebrate Black History Month, BWSOTU returns to the Company of Angels Theatre with Taking Flight, an edgy and emotionally eclectic exploration of the challenges and achievements of Black Women in contemporary America. Located in the historic Alexandria Hotel in Downtown, the Company of Angels is LA’s oldest non-profit repertory theater company, founded in 1959 by actors Richard Chamberlain, Leonard Nimoy, Vic Morrow and famed entertainment attorney Bertram Fields. Tickets for Taking Flight are $20 or $15 with a Senior/Student discount. For reservations, call 213.489.3703 or visit www.companyofangels.org.
In honor of Black History Month, the Santa Monica Playhouse presents Bananas! – A Day in the Life of Josephine Baker, a one-woman cabaret written and performed by Sloan Robinson, with accompaniment by pianist Aeros Pierce. Bananas! takes its name from a famous striptease costume worn by Baker, a legendary performer and civil rights activist who was the first African-American female to star in a major motion picture. In 2009, Bananas! received N.A.A.C.P. Theatre Awards for Best Music Director, Best Costumes and a nomination for Best Female Performance. General Admission tickets for Bananas! are $20. Two shows only: Saturday, February 16th at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 17th at 3 p.m.
Article provided by DiscoverLosAngeles.com