Embrace Black History Month Through Entertainment, Enlightenment & Empowerment

Director Regina King and Kingsley Ben-Adir on the set of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI 
Photo: Patti Perret/Amazon Studios

It’s not too late to partake in Black History Month per online purchases, performances, podcasts, and other nonprofit resources that are all a click away.

In an effort to explore how Black music has been the cultural key in preserving African traditions in America and in helping millions persevere in the face of racial injustice, Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) will livestream “Preserving and Persevering” on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. CST.  “Chicago Children’s Choir recognizes that one of the most incomparable, underappreciated contributions to American music is the African sound and spirit,” says CCC’s Director of African Diasporic Music and Studies Lonnie Norwood, who curated the event in special collaboration with Grammy-winning artists Lisa Fischer and Ranky Tanky. The free concert can be seen on CCC’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Music, movie and sports fans may experience “One Night In Miami” any night in Chicago via Amazon’s Prime Video. In her directorial debut, actress Regina King casts Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr. as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke, respectively. Based on Kemp Power’s stageplay, the film fictionalizes a real life meeting that took place on Feb. 25, 1964 when the four Black icons discussed their roles in the Civil Rights Movement.

Chicago’s Court Theatre has morphed its Spotlight Reading Series into a podcast to focus on Black literary figures from history who are not typically addressed on stage. “In it, we will expand our original scope to not only read plays but to feature classic literary texts, such as memoirs, speeches, poetry, and novels, by Black, indigenous and other writers of color,” explains Aaron Mays, Court’s Community Programs Manager and host and creator of the podcast.

“We’re thrilled by the opportunity to explore new mediums of expression and reach new audiences with our first foray into podcasting,” adds Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre. “Each of the literary figures explored in the Spotlight Podcast offers illuminating insights into the world we live in from a singular perspective that is thrillingly brought to life by some of Chicago’s best actors.”

Readings from works by novelist and editor Pauline Hopkins; activist and journalist Ida B. Wells; poet Phillis Wheatley; and diarist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson will be featured in episodes released on Feb. 18, Feb. 25, March 4, and March 11 on the company’s website and listening apps such as Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts.

Facing History and Ourselves is helping parents currently serving as at-home teachers with online lessons and printable handouts to illuminate students on the Black experience. Insights into “America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1985” and “The Hope and The Fragility of Democracy in the United States” await.

A wealth of resources on African Americans is also available online thanks to The HistoryMakers. The organization’s digital archive provides streamable interviews and more than 3,000 biographies on Black role models across a multitude of industries.

For those who choose to wear their heart (and cause) on their sleeves, Sultry Steps is selling Black History Month sweatshirts. The Chicago store is one of the Roosevelt Collection Shops that represent local and Black-owned businesses. Others include Kido, Love Peridot, Chicago French Press, and Divinity7. For a full list, visit RooseveltCollection.com.


Top image: Photo by Patti Perret of Regina King directing Kingsley Ben-Adir on the set of “One Night In Miami” (2020); Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Bottom image: Courtesy of The HistoryMakers

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Ms. Arvia is an online columnist and critic; entertainment ghostwriter reaching nine million visitors per month; award-winning artist; grant-winning filmmaker; and Janet-of-all-trades. She’s interviewed SNL’s Cecily Strong and Julia Sweeney, the travel industry’s Rick Steves and Pauline Frommer, and directors Taylor Hackford and Laurie Anderson. Press releases on Chicago cultural events can be sent to reeljanet@live.com.