Los Angeles Celebrates Black History Month

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.

PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL (Feb. 7-18, 2013)

Pan African Film and Arts Festival PAFF | Black History Month February 2103
Photo courtesy of Pan African Film & Arts Festival, Facebook

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 – TAKING FLIGHT (Feb. 15-24, 2013)

Black Women State of the Union |Company of Angels Theater | Black History Month February 2013
Photo courtesy of Company of Angels

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.

BANANAS! – A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOSEPHINE BAKER (Feb. 16-17, 2013)

Santa Monica Playhouse Josephine Baker Life Story Performance | Black History Month February 2013
Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Playhouse

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.

A TRIBUTE TO AFRICAN-AMERICAN AUTHORS & AIN’T JUST PAINT RECEPTION (Feb. 25, 2013)

 Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center tribute to African Americans February 2013
On Monday, February 25th, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center celebrates Black History Month with two free events that highlight the cultural contributions that African Americans have made to our society. At 7:30 p.m., A Tribute to African American Authors features renowned actors and singers performing selected works. A reception for the new exhibit Ain’t Just Paint: Works from the CCH Pounder Collection follows A Tribute. The events are taking place in the Renberg Theatre and Advocate & Gochis Galleries, both located at the Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. Admission to both events is free, but reservations are required for A Tribute: www.aatribute.eventbrite.com.

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Article provided by DiscoverLosAngeles.com

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