A how-to guide to having the blackest Black History Month ever

This is a photo from Jazz in the Gardens, which happens in March. But it is undoubtedly one of the best black gatherings in Miami-Dade County. (Matias Ocner/Miami Herald)

Welcome to the blackest blackity black Black History Month guide to ever be created in this millennium. It’s blacker than clapping on the 2s and 4s. It’s blacker than Barack Obama’s final year in the White House. And it’s going to make a lot of people mad.

Don’t worry about that. If you’re black, I made this with love for you (with suggestions from a dear friend). I’m based in Miami, so I threw in some very black events in South Florida, but don’t let that stop you from receiving this blessing because this is for ALL my people.

Thursday, FEB. 1

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wear a picked out afro, Kangol, headwrap or durag to work
If anyone asks you what you have on your head, just tell them it’s the next fashion trend in a long line of appropriated black culture.

6-9 p.m.
Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson’s Black History Month Kickoff Event

Put on your best dashiki and party with one of Miami’s black county commissioners, Audrey Edmonson. This free event will include refreshments and entry into “Funky Turns 40,” an art exhibit that marks 40 years of positive black animation that began with Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s. Remain cognizant and present, remembering that you’re in a place of huge importance to the fabric of black history in Miami.

Where: The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex, 819 NW Second Ave., Miami
Cost: Free
More: Registration at http://bit.ly/2DvXNoE

Friday, FEB. 2

7-11 p.m.
Lyric Live AllStar Show

If you haven’t been to Lyric Live in Overtown’s Historic Lyric Theater, now’s the opportunity. Let Season 4 finalists impress you in a showdown similar to “Live at the Apollo,” except Miami-style. Even when a contestant gets booed, revel in the blackness that is an authentic Bahamian junkanoo band ushering the talent off stage.

Where: The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex,
819 NW Second Ave., Miami
Cost: $15-$30
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2DBM38h

Saturday, FEB. 3

5-10 p.m.
Day La Soul: 90s-2000s Day Party

Black musicians have probably made the biggest contributions to American music. If you agree with that statement, you’ll enjoy this party at Rooftop at E11EVEN. It’s a throwback jam with hip hop, reggae and R&B mixes and one of the largest day parties for Miami’s young urban professionals.

Where: Rooftop at E11EVEN, 15 NE 11th St., Miami
Tickets: $18 at http://bit.ly/2DH1aMQ

6-10 p.m.
“Douvan Jou Ka Leve” Miami Screening
Mental health is a conversation that needs to be normalized in the black community. Director Gessica Geneus shares a prolific and personal journey with her mother’s mental illness. “Douvan Jou Ka Leve (The Sun Will Rise)” explores mental illness stigma through the lens of Haitian spirituality.

Where: Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami
Cost: $15
More: http://bit.ly/2F9hWkX

Sunday, FEB. 4

9 p.m.
Light a candle for the ancestors

Seriously. Thank them for paving the way for all this black excellence.

Monday, FEB. 5

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Take off work

To mark the first Monday of Black History Month, take a personal day. If you must fill out a request for PTO, simple put it’s for “being black.”

10 a.m.
Send all the white friends in your phone a “Happy Black History Month” text

While you’re off from work, make it known that you’re celebrating the best 28-day month of the year. Send your white friends a “Happy Black History Month” text and let me know how they respond. Don’t forget to employ the use of a bunch of black emojis. ✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿

Tuesday, FEB. 6

*All day*
No Code Switch Tuesday

It’s about time all your friends knew the real you. Make sure to observe No Code Switch Tuesday for the remainder of the month.

8 a.m.
Blacktech Week

Yaasss to blacks in STEM! If you’re a black innovator, entrepreneur or equitable investor, this five-day convention has created a space just for you. Some of the highlights of Blacktech Week include a women’s innovation brunch, seminars on the art and science of hustlin’ and all the amazing speakers.

When: Feb. 6-10
Where: Various venues
Website: blacktechweek.com
Cost: $49-$500
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2jpdiGb

10 a.m.
Coordinate a gesture of black solidarity with your black coworkers

Upon your return to work, make a big ol’ black scene. Dress in all black and raise a fist or orchestrate the electric slide during your lunch break. It’s on you to let everyone at your workplace know you intend to have a glorious, blackity-black Black History Month.

Wednesday, FEB. 7

*All day*
White Guilt Wednesday

It’s not your fault that facts make white people uncomfortable. Use this day to address any problematic sentiments you hear or see. You aren’t doing white people any favors by allowing them to remain oblivious, so be sure to observe White Guilt Wednesday for the whole month. A great way to get started is by bringing up any of the following subjects, but brace yourself for some white tears:

  1. Reverse racism is not a thing, Tanner.
  2. More than 50 percent of all white women voted for Donald Trump. But nice pink pussy hat, Susan.
  3. Black people are six times more likely to get stopped by police, Bob.
  4. Children of color account for more than 70 percent of school-related arrests. This is what we call the school-to-prison pipeline, Claire.
  5. Black people are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white offenders in federal prison. Don’t really feel like hearing about your coke-snorting weekend, Logan.
  6. Slavery.

Thursday, FEB. 8

6 p.m.
The Quilts of Gee’s Bend: The Fabric of Their Lives

There’s no end to the levels of black ingenuity. Gee’s Bend is a remote peninsula in Alabama that was deliberately cut off during the Civil Rights movement. (A sheriff during the time reportedly said “We didn’t close the ferry because they were black. We closed it because they forgot they were black.”) To keep warm during the winter months, the women of Gee’s Bend sewed quilts in the tradition of their African ancestors. Fast forward to the early 2000s, and those quilts, made largely from scraps and hand me downs, were considered the pinnacle of American art, earning glowing reviews from New York Times art critics and landing in the country’s finest museums. Now they’re on display in South Florida. See this black girl magic up close during a talk by Janet Dolland of Gee’s Bend Quilter’s Collective.

Where: Old Dillard Museum, 1001 NW Fourth St., Fort Lauderdale
Cost: Free

Friday, FEB. 9

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wear an unapologetically black t-shirt

Then dare anyone to question you.

6-8 p.m.
Global 1000 Empowerment Lecture
What does it take to be black and successful? Get some pointers from former football player Ray Lewis and real estate mogul Richmond McCoy, plus notes from billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman.

Where: St. Agnes Episcopal Church, 1750 NW Third Ave., Miami
Cost: Free
Registration: http://bit.ly/2DxZrGg

Saturday, FEB. 10

11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Go to a black history museum near you

If you don’t have one, write a letter to your local legislators asking why you don’t.

8 p.m.
An Evening with Gladys Knight
Can you say legendary? Yes ma’am! Ms. Gladys Knight is a seven-time Grammy Award winner who was inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Her discography includes more than 38 albums and a plethora of No. 1 hits in multiple genres. Gladys has been honored by BET and the NAACP, and she’s gracious enough to bless us with her presence. Get all that #blackgirlmagic.

Where: John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
Cost: $29-$119
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2GanrRr

Noon – 10 p.m.
EGBE Festival
Experience African culture through live performances, food and fashion at this festival at the Historic Virginia Key Beach, which became City of Miami’s only official beach for negroes during the Jim Crow era after a protest at the white-only Haulover Beach. There will be live drumming sessions because, you know, the ancestors invented a thing called rhythm.

Where: Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Miami
Cost: $10
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2BoSfKB

Sunday, FEB. 11

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dream Brunch
It ain’t trickin’ if you got it, boo. Enjoy a fancy midday meal with a “I Have a Dream” theme aboard SeaFair Miami, a super-fancy mega yacht. Guests are encouraged to bring business cards to network with other entrepreneurs. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to R Stars Project.

Where: SeaFair Mega Yacht Venue, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami
Cost: $250
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2GdwAZr

Monday, FEB. 12

4-6 p.m.
What is Black? Panel Discussion
“What is Black?” seeks to explore identity within the African diaspora. It’s a particularly relevant conversation to have in South Florida, where “blackness” encompasses ethnicity and nationality.

Where: Andreas Hall at Barry University, 11300 Northeast Second Ave., Room 111, Miami Shores
Cost: Free
Registration: http://bit.ly/2FagYVg

Tuesday, FEB. 13

Noon
Affirm a black child’s worth
Buy a black kid a black book, action figure or doll. Tell them they are special and beautiful.

Wednesday, FEB. 14

7 p.m.
Celebrate black love
There’s Will and Jada. Denzel and Paula. Barack and Michelle. Then there’s you and your boo. Take your significant other out to eat at a black-owned restaurant. The Hungry Black Man recently created a great go-to list.

Thursday, FEB. 15

2 p.m.
Arrange a game of spades with friends

This game is blackity black black. It might be the blackest game of all time. Make sure your partner isn’t that one drunk and belligerent uncle.

8 p.m.
Make a black festival budget

It’s finally time to make your black ass way to AfroPunk or get your finances in order so you can afford a flight and tickets to the 2018 Essence Fest.

Friday, FEB. 16

*All day*
Watch “Black Panther” in movie theaters

THIS 👏🏿 IS 👏🏿 NOT 👏🏿 A 👏🏿 GAME.
The National Delegation of Black Folk on Twitter (NDBFT, for short) has decided black people are going to support this movie, no matter what. Good or “Norbit” bad. Four hours long. It doesn’t matter. Go in your blackest regalia. And arrive early. Take initiative and make a program; on it include “Singing of The Negro National Anthem by Brother Tyrone” (doesn’t matter if you don’t know one beforehand, there’s bound to be a Tyrone in the audience) and “Offering for the United Negro College Fund.” Don’t forget the collection plates. Amen!

6 p.m.-10 a.m.
Young Black Professional Miami Winter 2018 Networking Event

Building a network is important. You never know who might be your next boss or business partner. Mingle with other black professionals, then enjoy a party the rest of the evening.

Where: Barrio Mojito Bar & Lounge, 299 NW 23rd St., Miami
Cost: $20
RSVP: http://bit.ly/2FcYlAe

6 p.m.-1 a.m.
The Link~Up | Music-Art-Drinks
Sometimes it’s just really nice to be in black spaces and see the diversity of beauty in our people. Serve a look at this party in Wynwood.

Where: Macaya Gallery, 145 NW 36th St., Wynwood
Cost: Free with registration before 11 p.m., $10 after
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2n7QzRu

7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Black Panther Movie Premiere and Dinner
You planned on doing the most for “Black Panther” anyways. The Hungry Black Man and Black Tech Week take that to a new level with this event, featuring a red-carpet entrance, private screening of the film with other guests and a dinner. African attire is encouraged!

Where: Red carpet and screening at AMC Aventura 24 19501 Biscayne Blvd #3001 Aventura; Dinner at KC Healthy Cooking 11900 Biscayne Blvd #103 North Miami
Cost: $25-$65
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2st2eQ8

Saturday, FEB. 17

2-4 p.m.
Black History Month Fashion Show

Support black designers and the arts at this fashion show. There will be various vendors, a poetry slam and an art exhibit on display through Feb. 28.

Where: North Miami Beach Library, 1601 NE 164th St., North Miami Beach
Cost: Free
More: http://bit.ly/2Bs0JAQ

Noon to 4 p.m.
Black Heritage Festival

This one’s for the families. Celebrate black history in Florida’s blackest city with County Commissioner Barbara Jordan and City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. Children will enjoy face painting, rock climbing and bounce houses while learning about the achievements of black people throughout history.

Where: Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 NW 199th St., Miami Gardens
Cost: Free
More: http://bit.ly/2GgzOLN

Noon-6 p.m.
Our Gems 2018 Black Business Expo

Black money matters. Make it a priority to funnel your dollars into black businesses at the Our Gems Business Expo. Are you a business owner? Get ready to promote your goods. Grub Pub will host a barbecue competition and there will be a DJ battle and raffle giveaways.

Where: Mary Saunders Park, 4750 SW 21st St., West Park
Cost: Free
Registration: http://bit.ly/2FfC0Cb

8 p.m.
Black Panther Adult Prom

Whoever said “Black Panther” would be a cultural phenomenon wasn’t lying. Enjoy cocktails, food, music and dancing at this celebratory event. Dress in your best African-inspired attire for a chance to win a cash prize.

Where:FIU Biscayne Bay Campus Ballrooms 3000 NE 151 St. North Miami
Cost: $85
Registration: http://bit.ly/2o2PJG6

9 p.m.-midnight
PAMM’s Art + Soul: The Celebration

OK, so later in this guide I suggest a visit to the Pérez Art Museum Miami , and there’s good reason for that. But you can also attend this event on the East Portico to celebrate black art, specifically five years of PAMM’s dedication to acquiring African-American art through a special fund. There will be cocktails, music and hors d’oeuvres.

Where: Pérez Art Museum Miami 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
Cost: $50 upon limited availability, $100 general admission
Tickets: pamm.org/fifthartsoul

Sunday, FEB. 18

11 a.m.
Record an elder in your family or community. Document their story.

This is a good exercise, even once Black History Month ends.

3 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Conch of Souse Battle: Epic Dinner Sale and Food Fight

Get a taste of South Florida’s best foods from black-owned businesses at this “Black Panther”-themed event. General admission is free. Vendors will be competing for a cash prize and a vendor space at Miami Gardens’ Jazz in the Gardens music festival.

Where: Betty T. Ferguson Center 3000 Northwest 199th Street Miami Gardens
Cost: Free
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2Euv0B9

Monday, FEB. 19

5 p.m.
Play Young Jeezy’s “My President is Black”
Sure, Barack Obama isn’t president anymore. But it’s Black HISTORY Month and President’s Day, so it’s wholly appropriate to celebrate Obama’s legacy with the most lit tribute created for a United States president ever. Make sure you blare this with the windows down during rush hour traffic.

Tuesday, FEB. 20

10 p.m.
Binge watch reruns of a black show

The 1990s was full of them. Just log into your Hulu account and get it crackin’.

Wednesday, FEB. 21

8 a.m.
Create a black author reading list

You already know your education failed you in the black literature department. I swear I read “A Raisin in the Sun” five times — and that’s nothing against Lorraine Hansberry. But there are a lot more authors out there. Here is a good list to get you started.

Thursday, FEB. 22

8 p.m.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Here’s why you should go see Alvin Ailey at the Arsht Center: artistic director Robert Battle is too real. Here’s what he told the Miami Herald in 2017 about the irony of the group being pigeonholed as “black dance”: “We said no one ever says, ‘Have you seen any white dance lately?’ We laughed, because it is kind of ridiculous. But it’s the same way I feel about Black History Month. On the one hand I celebrate it, and on the other hand you’re reminded that you still need to have a single month in the year for black history.”

When: 2 p.m and 8 p.m. Feb. 22-25
Cost: $29-$119
Where: Ziff Ballet Opera House at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Friday, FEB. 23

6 p.m.
Buy black
Purchase an un-apologetically black shirt or some other merchandise from a black-owned business.

Saturday, FEB. 24

9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sistrunk Parade and Street Festival

Cheer on the babies as they perform in marching bands, stepping teams and drill teams in this annual Broward County parade. Then enjoy a free music festival on a street named to honor Dr. James Sistrunk, a black physician responsible for opening one of South Florida’s fist black hospitals in 1938.

Where: Parade begins at Lincoln Park, 2340 Lincoln St., Hollywood and ends on Northwest Ninth Avenue. The festival will be on Sistrunk Boulevard between Northwest Ninth Avenue and Northwest 12th Avenue.
Cost: Free
More: sistrunkfestival.org

noon to 3 p.m.
Marcus Samuelsson presents a Harlem to Overtown Jazz Brunch

Food Network gets into the spirit of Black History Month during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival with an event featuring James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, who is opening a restaurant in Overtown. You’ll get to check out his new space before enjoying a five-star brunch in the plaza at the Lyric Theater. Samuelsson is going to be serving ribs, fried chicken and collard greens.

Where: The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater, 819 NW Second Ave., Miami
Cost: $135
Tickets: sobewff.org/harlem

Sunday, FEB. 25

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Visit all the black murals and artwork in Miami

Black art exists all around you, if only you know where to look. Spend an early afternoon tracking down murals in Little Haiti, Overtown and Wynwood. Then spend some time at Pérez Art Museum Miami, which established an initiative in 2013 specifically for acquiring African-American art AND has a black director. Look him up, y’all.

Monday, FEB. 26

8 a.m.
Make sure your voter registration is up to date

On this day in Feb. 26, 1869, the U.S. Congress decided to get their sh** together by passing the 15th Amendment, which made it legal for black men to vote. It was ratified a year later with this verbiage: “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Of course, many states continue to target the black vote by first throwing black people in jail at higher rates than most demographic groups, then charging and sentencing them more severely, then disenfranchising those who have felony charges. So it goes without saying, make sure your voter registration is in order. Make the voting booth a priority. It’s something the ancestors fought for and a right not everyone can take advantage of.

Website for Florida voters: http://bit.ly/2cqTroB

Tuesday, FEB. 27

8 p.m.
‘The Color Purple’

It’s a Tony Award-winning play based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. You’ve seen the movie on television. Now’s the time to see the American tale play out on stage.

When: Five shows between Feb. 27 – March 4, 2018
Time: Shows at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
Where: Ziff Ballet Opera House at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Wednesday, FEB. 28

Noon to 3 p.m.
Coordinate a commemorative Black History Month photo

You just made it through the blackest Black History Month ever. Celebrate that ish. Gather all your melanated brothers and sisters for a photo shoot. Make it a function.

Reclaiming (Black History MONTH) our time

THURSDAY, MARCH 1 HOL’ UP WAIT A MINUTE. Y’ALL THOUGHT I WAS FINISHED?! Hell nah. Following in the footsteps of The Honorable Congresswoman Maxine Waters, black people are RECLAIMING OUR TIME. We no longer are accepting the shortest month when our ancestors built this damn country. March 1 is officially Feb. 29. You’ve been put on notice.

FRIDAY, MARCH 2 Spend a small portion of the day addressing all the things that would get your Black Card revoked. Perhaps you aren’t certain about which years Cash Money Records took over. Or maybe your mother is actually one of your little friends. Now if there are some things you should truly correct, then by all means do so. But also reflect on how your blackness isn’t defined by these criteria.

SATURDAY, MARCH 3 Host a dinner with all your friends (including the non-black ones). Make the invitations really vague with text that says something along the lines of “to honor the memory of a dear friend.” Tell them you want them to dress in black to join you in your mourning. Wear an elaborate hat like you just left the funeral for your grandma. When everyone arrives, tell them you’re marking the end of Black History Month. It’s Saturday, so you probably won’t be calling off work for bereavement. Sure, you can certainly celebrate black history 24/7/365, but you’ve officially lost your pass to act a damn fool on behalf of the ancestors — until next year.

Did I miss something? Shoot me an email at cherring@miamiherald.com.

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