February is African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia.
The 2023 theme is Seas of Struggle: African Peoples from Shore to Shore.
Here’s a listing of events across the city.
Jan. 30 | 9:30 a.m. – Flag raising
Grand Parade Square and Halifax Hall
After the kick-off event, the city will have flag raising and a special performance by Owen Lee at Grand Parade before moving indoors to Halifax Hall. Light refreshments will be provided.
City Hall will be illuminated in black, green, red, and yellow throughout African Heritage Month. The Downtown Halifax Business Commission will project light displays on the former Halifax Memorial Library Building at Grafton Park and the Pan-African flag will be displayed on the Viola Desmond Ferry.
For more information on HRM events, visit the website.
Feb. 2 | 7 p.m. – AHM: Calypso Celebration
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
This event will celebrate Caribbean heritage and culture through live music at Pier 21.
Join Trinidadian-born saxophonist and composer Jesse Ryan with pianist Eddie Bullen and percussionist Garrett Burgess for a night exploring the connections between jazz and afro-Caribbean music
Feb. 3 | 10 a.m. – The NFB in Libraries: Sol, Zab Maboungou, Black Soul, and Ice Breakers
Captain William Spry Public Library
Every Friday morning, watch “eye-opening and provoking films” about Black experience. Food and beverages will be provided. The series starts off with a number of short films, but rotates throughout.
See the Halifax Public Libraries website for more.
Feb. 5 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Make Day! Africville’s Legacy
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Join artist and educator Kim Cain in making art to learn about and remember the destruction and legacy of Africville.
Feb. 8 | 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – BIPOC monthly book club kick-off
Venus Envy and South House are collaborating to start a BIPOC book club looking specifically at texts that relate to the experiences of people of colour. Their kick-off event will look at Charlene A. Carruthers’ best selling Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.
Nailah Cecilia Tataa helped organize the book club and is an employee of Venus Envy.
They explained the need for spaces for racialized people in Halifax as something that will allow people to relax and escape the white gaze.
“There are not enough opportunities where we can kind of come together in spaces where we can exist and build solidarity,” Tataa said, and just “have spaces where we can talk about the experience of being BIPOC folk in a city that’s being quickly gentrified.”
Tataa explained she picked Unapologetic because they wanted to lay a foundation that shows intersectional experiences within race. The book talks about the intersections of queerness and race; Tataa added that Black queer people are often the most vulnerable in society.
“When we start from a perspective of ‘this is who we’re holding tenderly’, we can kind of move our way up,” they said.
The book club will be closed to BIPOC individuals and will require registration. Find more information on the Venus Envy website.
Feb. 9 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Portia White: A Vibrant Presence
Alumni Hall, University of King’s College
Portia White was the first Black Canadian concert singer to gain international fame. She was born in Truro, lived in Halifax, and taught school in Africville before moving to Toronto to pursue music.
Afua Cooper is the principal investigator of Black Peoples’ History of Canada and a professor at Dalhousie University. She made a video on the life and legacy of White. It will premiere at the event.
Cooper said White’s story is one that should inspire many. “Portia White showed tremendous resilience,” said Cooper. “Working at a time when it was tremendously stressful to be a Black person, to be a Black woman navigating certain spaces. And she did that with grace and courage and determination.”
”So many Canadians do not know about Portia, while many Canadians that do know about her do not know enough about her. And I wanted to showcase her grace, her humanity and her beautiful voice.”
Cooper has wanted to create a film that would share White’s story for nearly a decade. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion; among the group will be Cooper, George Elliott Clarke and Sylvia Hamilton.
Registration is open.
Feb. 12 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – George Elliott Clarke Presents: 5 Poets
Breaking Into Song Joining George for the latest edition of his patented series will be Afua Cooper, Amatoritsero Ede, Sylvia Hamilton, El Jones, and Monica Mutale. Come enjoy hearing the poets read from their works, and listen to how local composer Nevawn Patrick has set their poetry to music performed by vocalist Linda Carvery with pianist Holly Arsenault.
Feb. 16 and Feb. 23 | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Lift Every Voice 8: African Heritage Month Musical Showcase
For the eighth annual Lift Every Voice event, the African Nova Scotian Music Association will be holding two events celebrating Black music on Feb. 16 at Halifax North Memorial Public Library and Feb. 23 at the Central Library.
Halifax Public Libraries has many events throughout the month. Find more on the website.
Feb. 21 | 6:30 p.m. – Film screening: Black Ice
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis brings you the story of Black contributions and racial injustice in hockey in Black Ice. From the Coloured Hockey League founded in 1895 to the NHL, this film provides a look into Canada’s national game. The event will be followed by a panel discussion.
This event is free, and registration is required.
About the author
David Shuman is a reporter from Musquodoboit Harbour, NS. He works as the editor-in-chief of the Dalhousie Gazette, Dalhousie's independent campus...